Breathe

I have a confession to make.  I sometimes forget to breathe.  I take on way too much, I feel things on a very deep level, and I often feel like I’m so overwhelmed that I forget that God is in control and not me.  Truth be told, I hate it.  I detest not being able to be in control of myself when other people make decisions that affect my life without giving me any say-so in the matter.  I hate watching people I care about self-destruct and having to sit back and watch it happen.  I hate knowing that I can make a big difference in the way something goes and feeling too scared to take action.

To make things worse, I hate that I keep gaining weight, am losing confidence in myself and question my judgment on every little thing.  I even hate the fact that my friends are tired of hearing about the same issues over and over and I can’t seem to get off the conversation.  My self-esteem has really taken a beating over the last decade.  I’ve had a lot of different successes and yet they don’t really matter.  I question everything.  I don’t want to just settle and yet that seems to be all I’ve done and am doing.

I watch my family members appear to be doing better in life than me and I struggle not to compare.  If any of this sounds familiar to any of you, then congratulations.  You are not alone in the feelings of self-doubt.

I’ve traveled all over the world and seen more things in my life than many of my friends and acquaintances have.  I’ve experienced various cultures and met some of the coolest people in my travels.  I’ve encountered people who have it so much worse in many ways than I do and yet they have the happiness that I strive to find.   What is their magic cure?

Many of them have found an inner peace within themselves that I strive to find.  They have learned to be happy with what they have and not bemoan what they don’t.  They are the survivors of life.  They have learned to keep smiling even when there isn’t much to smile about.  They have learned to love themselves and accept themselves for who they are.  They don’t compare themselves to others because in their minds there is no comparison.  They are who they are.

Sometimes I wish I had that mentality.  Every day is a struggle.  I deal with depression and anxiety.  My face looks just like a normal person and yet I don’t feel normal.  I always question why bother trying and wonder why I can’t shake the stigma of depression.  I don’t want to feel this way and yet sometimes it’s difficult not to.  I try to understand why people can be so successful and yet so torn on the inside and yet in my everyday battle within myself, I can’t seem to shake the demons that feast upon my soul.

I’m very grateful that there are support systems for folks dealing with depression and anxiety.  I really hate the phrase “Just Snap Out of It”.  If it was really that easy to do that then we wouldn’t have so many folks fighting anxiety, depression and other mental illness that walk this earth.  We wouldn’t have a broken system that fails to take action until it’s too late in many cases.

I have been looking to my faith to help and in many different cases, it’s seemed to help.  However, there is one part of my life that my faith is really being tested on.  See I took a risk a while back.  I let someone know how I felt.  Granted, it was through letters but it was still letting them know what they meant to me.  This person was involved with someone else at the time and the timing was terrible.  Lies got told.  Drama happened.  Life got in the way.  Through it all, my feelings didn’t change.  Then he got sick.  He didn’t really believe in God.  He broke it off with the woman he was seeing and pushed friends and family away.  He wouldn’t talk to me.  He would seek me out and we couldn’t speak.  We were running from our emotions.  Now we are both alone and miserable.  We don’t speak.  We don’t see each other and we’re both too stubborn to budge.  Even when I’ve tried to reach out, fate hasn’t been kind to either of us.  I tried to walk away.  God knows I tried.  I’ve finally come to realize that being on my own is better than being with someone who isn’t willing to be a partner with me.  I’d rather be single for the right reasons than with someone who won’t respect me enough, to be honest about what he’s dealing with.  Neither of us deserves this kind of treatment but he sees nothing wrong with pushing everyone away.  He thinks he’s protecting others from dealing with his disease and his pain but the opposite is occurring.

Then I have work.  I love what I do but the pay is lousy.  It’s a good thing I don’t want to make a career out of what I do because I will never get anywhere working for a family run company that has no chance of promotions.  That’s why I started working on websites and social media.  That’s a tricky platform too.  You are either going to have folks love what you do or hate it.  I’ve had both so far.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  In the end, you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be alright with the work you did.  That’s anything in life.  You are your own worst critic.  That’s normal.  It’s okay to be OCD about things.

All in all, this is a journey of self-discovery.  It’s an adventure of coping with depression, anxiety and learning how to make it through each day.  Faith is a wonderful mechanism to help cope but it’s also a strong motivator to be a better person.  I really do believe that there is a much higher power in charge of things.  I just wish he’d quit testing us all the time.  I know for a fact I’ve flunked a bunch of tests on earth and in his heavenly book.  I’m human.  It’s expected.  I just have to figure out how to reprogram my brain to know that I am a person of self-worth, courage, and determination.  Just like all of you, I’m willing to keep trying.  After all, every day is a new day.  And every minute and second contains adventure awaiting us all.  Just breathe my friends.  Catch your breath.  And know you aren’t alone in your journey.

Just-Breathe

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