I am not a beach person. I don’t love the sun. I don’t love the sand. I don’t love the heat. It’s not for me. But it’s a happy place for other people including my children, so I bust out my flipflops and SPF 50 and soldier on.
Last week I saw my youngest wrestle with her boogie board. She sees a wave coming and positions herself for it to hit with a look of determination. Each time the wave wins, moving her despite her desire to stay put. Her hunt for the perfect wave keeps getting interrupted.
I have been battling depression and anxiety for the past 10 years. It’s a challenge that many of us face. And I couldn’t help but think that my daughter’s conflict was similar to my own. I hate the impact of depression and anxiety. I brace for it, hoping to outlast it. Hoping to overpower it. Hoping to wish it away. But whenever I have this approach, it knocks me back. It’s always more than I can deal with on my own strength.
A light seemed to go on for my daughter. She began to stop fighting the wave. She began to anticipate the inevitability that it’s coming and simply jump into its momentum. She started to ride each wave. At first, for a few moments, but gradually for longer and longer. The look of determination was replaced by joy and freedom.
That’s also been my experience with depression. When I stopped fighting it and accepted it, I began to be able to jump into my journey. I spoke with my doctor about what medications might be options for me. I spoke with a counselor to talk through what was real and what wasn’t. I got support. I didn’t have to fight the depression and anxiety. I didn’t have to face it alone. My path to freedom was accepting what I couldn’t change and getting the support I needed to ride to healthiness.
How about you? Are you fighting something that’s bigger than your power?
What support systems have helped you have better mental healthiness?