It feels good to be back. I don’t just mean blogging. But as a person who feels back to her normal self. You see, some of you might not know this but years ago I suffered from pretty bad postpartum depression. Unfortunately, the depression went undiagnosed for longer than it should have, and eventually it spiraled into an on-and-off-again dysfunctional relationship. It was always like trying to play catch up with how much happiness it had taken away from my life. I was trying to chase down that happy Jessica who used to exist. I sought out professional help in addition to taking anti-depression/anxiety medicine. I went through several years as a victim of depression. But for the first time in what seems like a very long time I have picked myself up and walked out of that isolated room of darkness. I broke up with Depression - the self-absorbed asshole who sucks the life out of you.
I found that after I removed myself from situations that were draining me I could see the proverbial light. It took some time, but I got there. Well, here. I got here - a place of self-actualizing happiness, comfort in who I am as a mom and person. I haven’t been on my medication (Welbutrin) for almost a year and I took a risk in self-(un)medicating.* So far, so good.
There’s this general misconception that 30 is something to be feared, but I’m actually excited for my thirties. I believe in fresh starts and that’s exactly how I’m approaching this age. Your twenties are when you can do a lot of immature shit but can still be considered an “adult." You get a lot of free passes because, well, you’re still so young. What do we know at 25 anyway? Not much. We think we know, and we try really really hard to have our lives figured out. Then you’re 30 and you realize it’s perfectly okay to not have it figured out. When I turned 30 I reevaluated some things:
Pssshhh.....I got this.
When 2016 began I sought out to make that year my “Year of Yes, Year of Jess” (insert eye roll). It was a self-proclamation to turn my life around, come hell or high water. I was fortunate enough to attend 3 music festivals, more than a handful of local concerts, and a few other random trips. I made some new friends all while nurturing the current bonds I have with my existing group of friends. But I think the most valuable gift of 2016, (and this is going to be so unbearably cheesy), is that I learned to be happy on my own.
Okay, let's not over exaggerate here. I learned to be happier on my own. Let me tell you something. This is not an easy thing to do. Not for me at least – someone who has been accustomed to being codependent for most of her adult life. To clarify, I don't think I am destined to be alone forever. I happen to think I make a great companion. But I'm learning that being happy alone is a lot like being happy in a relationship with another person. You have to learn how to effectively support yourself, communicate with yourself, love yourself, and treat yourself with kindness and compromise. Many times we don’t learn how to do any of those things until we’re forced into the situation as a result of solitude. And look, I’m not 100% there but I am definitely on the right path.
It takes time.
I began 2017 with an open heart and an open mind. When I think of where I was years ago up to the very beginning of 2016, I can remember how much anxiety and little self-worth I harbored. It wasn’t a great time for me. With the help of my friends and family I began to see that I was not the person I was so convinced that I was. Your mind can really play tricks on you. Your heart can blind you. You can literally be your own worst enemy and I have learned that through hard lessons. (I apparently love to learn the hard way.) Only my closest friends and family could attest to this, but I have made a lot of progress. And I’m proud of myself. I would like to think they would be too. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to thank them…..
Thank you. Thank you for sticking by me at my worst. Thank you for always encouraging me to see what you see. Thank you for constantly trying to pull my head out of my ass.
We all know the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, a great village will continue to raise you up even in your adult years. The nurturing doesn't have to end just because we're not in diapers. I have been extremely fortunate to have a community of people in my corner through every crisis and triumph. My number one goal as a mom is to ensure that my kids have that same community. I want them to know and feel that love and support. I struggled at the beginning of motherhood to be what I considered a "good mom", but had it not been for my village I'm not really sure how I would have made it through.
Those were some rough times. And it's true that when you feel you have hit rock bottom there really is no where else to go but up. I know now that my happiness is mine to own. I have that power. No one else. So whether it's in my dirty white chucks, my hippie toe-sandals, or my Steve Madden booties I am taking the next steps in the right direction to self-rediscovery.....and that's forward.
*if you are on anti-depression/anxiety medication ask your doctor first about weening off of the meds. It can lead to serious side effects.