Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Not being yourself?


I read somewhere (and for the life of me I can't remember where, sorry) that part of the reason that depression is so rampant these days is that we are not ourselves. It stated that when you deny your true being, be it consciously because you want to fit in, or subconsciously because you adapt to the people around you, you will disconnect from yourself. That disconnection is what causes you to feel so unhappy, or numb, or worthless, or any number of the many unpleasant feelings caused by depression. 

I have thought about this a lot. Because if you follow that train of thought, wouldn't it mean that by finding yourself, your depression would be healed? That once you are comfortable with who you are, and you are true to YOU, you won't need any treatment or medication any more?

It sounds too simple, and too good to be true.
It also implies that if and when you finally are yourself, you will stay that way.
That, too, sounds too simple.
What if you lose yourself again?

Finding myself has been a quest I have been on for most of my adult life. I have made leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, feeling closer to it than ever. Yet, would I dare to stop taking my medication and trust that I have sufficiently become myself to have been freed of depression?

Never.

There are days where I still feel lost. I look around me, and ask myself if I am where I should be. Have I found my purpose yet? Have I become the person I am meant to be? It doesn't feel like it. Not quite yet. I am still on the journey, travelling towards my true meaning.

Having gone through years of feeling off-kilter, trying to fit in, yet feeling out of place, I know that I am close to being home. So close that I can see the windows of my home all lit up. Maybe I'm there already?

I am prone to making the mistake of thinking I have to have it all figured out. In order to be myself, I think I have to have my life mapped out in detail: The career, where to live, doing all the right things and avoiding all the wrong ones.

But that's not true. Also impossible. And maybe - a bit predictable?
You see, what I tend to forget is that I am a seeker, and that I always will be. I enjoy imagining what could be, spending endless hours dreaming of what might be, and picturing myself in a hundred different scenarios. Does that mean I don't know who I am?
(I don't think so. I am simply a person who questions everything.)

What I want us all to remember is that we can have found ourselves, and still be full of questions. Still don't know 100% where we will go. How our life will unfold. What might be in 5 years time, or in 10.

A big part (huge!) of knowing yourself is knowing the whole you, the good stuff and the bad. And to accept it. To stop beating ourselves up for flaws we think we shouldn't have.
Whenever I feel a bout of the "you are not good enough"s coming on, I remember Augusten Burroughs's quote:

"I myself am made up entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

Exactly.

I AM myself. More now than ever before. And I am a woman with depression, who may always take medication for it. And that's okay. I am okay. So are you.

We don't have to have it all figured out. We can make mistakes (spoiler alert: we will!), try things that may be out of character, and still know who we are. To be yourself doesn't have to mean you can't change. You can grow, learn, expand, and still keep the essence of what makes you, you.

And that's wonderfully reassuring.





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