It’s OK Not To Be OK. Say it with me, “It’s OK Not To Be OK.” Or, is it?

Hi there!

Been feeling some type of way lately so decided to let it out in a blog post.

Actually, it’s partly because the season has officially changed to fall, which means cooler temps and less sunlight–which means my depression is about to be at max capacity.

But, Ana, just be happy.

Yeah, if only depression and anxiety were that easy. I tell you, it’s super annoying and frustrating the negative stigma still very much associated with mental health and illness. And why? It’s 2020, come on now.

But, alas, here we are. Here we are still in the middle of a, pardon my French — fucking pandemic. I tell ya, I thought I was starting to be OK with it and accept this as our new normal, which, I suppose to an extent I have — I mean I think we all have. After all, what other choice do we have, right? — but, then I have these moments where I am literally thinking myself, hell no. I refuse to accept and believe this is our new normal. Which, is probably why I am starting to feel more depressed as the seasons change because during the summer months we were at least able to simply sit outside at our own homes or venture to the park to get fresh air and sunshine, where as it will soon become too cold to do those things and especially the winter when it snows, I can’t help but wonder what we are supposed to do?

Trust me, depression is more than just being sad and the chemical imbalance in my brain likes to remind me of that often. Sometimes I just find myself sad over trivial things and other times about more serious situations that happened a long time ago, but, apparently still haven’t found the right way to cope… if you will.

Lately, as an adult, which is much later in life than when this originally happened to me, I have been thinking about someone I looked up to as a role model when I was younger and whom was also one of my oldest sister’s best friends and coworker. We lost her to suicide.

If anything, her death impacts me more now, I think, because I myself have been diagnosed with mental illness — and while not as severe as hers was — I have a slightly better understanding of why she felt what she felt. I myself who has depression and anxiety, as do I am sure many others, know the resources for such issues are plentiful, but — there’s still that negative stigma associated with being diagnosed with any sort of mental illness that it prevents people who suffer from it to seek help.

And that’s what gets me to this day.

I would do anything for Patti to be back here. I can only imagine that not only was her mental illness extremely severe and more powerful than her bright spirit, that she didn’t think she could seek help and/or benefit from it.

For the longest time, I’ll be honest — I was angry. And sometimes to this day, I still am. I get angry because I can’t help but wonder why someone would be “selfish” enough to take their own life. But, of course, I know that’s not who Patti was or anyone else of who completed suicide.

I just miss her. I wonder what she would be like today had she not taken her own life. And I wish she could have truly realized all of the people who loved and cared for her.

I share this not to be too mopey or depressing, but, as a way to show that depressed people aren’t just sad for the sake of being sad. Although, sometimes, I guess, maybe we are. In this case thinking about Patti.

I know Patti wouldn’t want me to be sad. She wouldn’t want me to be angry with her or anyone else in my life who has either attempted or completed suicide, either. But, it’s tough. It’s so much easier to tell myself to snap out of it and not be sad about it, but, sometimes I just break down because I am sad because I miss her. I miss a lot of people. Of course, other people I have lost were due to old age, etc. But, even with them, I still have moments where I am sad thinking about them and knowing they won’t get to witness certain milestones not only of their own, but, mine as well.

I’m sharing this because well, mainly I just needed to get this off my mind and into print. I also share this, though, because I want others to know it’s OK to not always be OK. It’s OK to be sad from time to time outside of your normal depression. And that anyone who makes you think otherwise, well, tell them to go fly a kite.

Kidding.

But, I will say this — I wouldn’t wish this on anyone because it (depression and anxiety) straight up sucks. And in my last post I talked about this and I will bring it up again — my support system, i.e. family and friends and most importantly — Ryan — help me get through it. Ryan knows it isn’t easy for me and he’s seen me on more than one occasion have an emotional breakdown and each time he’s there with Kleenex in hand, helping wipe my tears away and hugging me, reminding me he’s there for me always.

Which brings me to another reason why I am always so emo/sappy… LOL. Sorry, switching gears a tad. BECAUSE YOU GUYS, I LITERALLY HAVE THE BEST BOYFRIEND WHO IS PERFECT FOR ME AND I DON’T DESERVE HIM!

Like seriously… I am baffled at how I am blessed with such a great man and I tell ya, and I tell him all the time, I can’t wait to marry him some day. 🙂 I’m just a big sap and wish everyone or hope everyone has their own perfect significant other like I found in Ryan because they deserve it. Everyone deserves to be happy, and while I know happiness comes from within, it’s nice to have a support person in a significant other who brings you happiness when you have trouble finding/creating your own.

If there’s anything I learned throughout not just this pandemic, but, in better understanding my depression and anxiety, is that support, whether a romantic partner or friends, family, pets, etc. IS KEY. Like, I would not have gotten to this point without them… in addition to therapy and medication, of course.

Anyway… kind of lost where I was going with this post tonight, but, remember, it’s OK to not be OK. And it’s also OK to ask for help. Tough times don’t last, remember, tough people do.

So, in the mean time, keep hanging on, keep trucking along. Hopefully sooner rather than later, although I highly doubt it, quarantine will be over and COVID will not be as big of a deal and we can get back to our old normal.

Ha, yeah. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Probably not, but, just keep on taking care of yourself and also be sure to check in on your loved ones because mental illness or not, this fucking pandemic is taking its toll on everyone in some capacity.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana

Why I Wear Yellow

In honor of Suicide Prevention Week (although it technically ended yesterday), I thought I would share a column I wrote for Central Michigan Life back in 2012. It’s about what it was like losing someone who I looked up to as a role model to suicide when I was just 10-years-old.

Gone too soon are words that play in my mind when I think of someone who was like another older sister to me and committed suicide.

I was 10 years old when one of my sister’s best friends, Patty, took her own life.

They had met through working together as orthodontists, and Patty became someone I came to not only respect but look up to. She was a role model for me.

I share this story, because after attending the new registered student organization Yellow Ribbon’s first meeting Monday, it made me realize just how many people have attempted or know someone who has attempted or committed suicide. I realized I am not alone in dealing with this kind of experience.

Being that young when Patty died was something I couldn’t, and still cannot to this day, wrap my mind around. As I was talking with other members of Yellow Ribbon, we discussed the stigma with suicide and the mental illnesses related to it.

Even though I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why Patty did what she did, I know there must have been something deeper  going on than what she told people up front, something she didn’t think she could get help for.

But I wish she had.

I hear people say, “Why can’t someone just get over it?” It isn’t that simple. I know from having friends and family with mental illnesses that it isn’t always easy to reach out for help and overcome, especially when it’s expected of them to just brush it off.

I think some people are afraid to reach out for help in fear of the person they reached out to not taking them seriously.

I have had other people in my life, aside from Patty, who have expressed feelings of depression or shared thoughts of suicide. Some have actually attempted it, and I wish there was more I could personally do.

I know all I can do is offer love and support. I am not a professional, so I can’t tell people how to overcome their obstacles, but I can guide them in the right direction to get the professional help they need.

I still wish Patty could have seen in herself what I saw in her — a beautiful, caring and smart woman who was appreciated and loved by many. I wish that at even 10 years old, there was something I could have said or done to make her change her mind. If she was here today, I would tell her just how much I admired her.

After the meeting, I was already looking forward to what is next. I can’t wait to see the work Yellow Ribbon does in spreading the message to have more open communication about suicide and its prevention.

After all, yellow is more than just a color.

Until next time…

XO,

Ana