Do you ever wonder why you're here?
. . .
Two years ago, I shared my deepest secret with you - my lifelong battle with depression and anxiety. Sharing that part of my heart took an amount of courage that I never imagined I'd muster up again. But nevertheless, here I am - writing my thoughts down, hoping that hitting "publish" matters to someone.
It's been a whirlwind since I graduated from college in May 2015. While navigating through life and searching for this balance between being happy and just getting by, I experienced what everyone with depression and anxiety face: the rollercoaster.
You're happy, then you're sad, then you wonder why you're sad because everything is good and you should be happy. It's truly exhausting and completely unexplainable. I'm physically incapable of explaining it because even I don't understand why I feel the way I do sometimes.
We learned as kids that character is who you are when no one is watching, and slowly we watched “character” not matter as much anymore. With our lives plastered on the internet, there were always people watching. Always someone waiting in the corner for you slip up or make a mistake. So we guarded ourselves with the unrealistic "my life is always happy" posts that don't really give a true representation of who we are.
With our access to stuff being our greatest strength and weakness as a generation, I began to feel more and more pressure about everything - jobs, relationships, money, access, fame. My “character” no longer meant who I was when no one was watching and suddenly became who I am behind an Instagram account.
I’m here to tell you that I’m not perfect and that’s ok. I feel sad and I fight the demons that a lot of us face every day. Today, I have to stop pretending that those feelings don’t exist. I have to let go of this “persona” I try so desperately to create to prove to whomever for whatever reason that my life is seamless and picture-perfect. Because it's not.
. . .
A lot of these ups and downs have led me to question why I'm even here - why I'm alive. What purpose do I serve? Am I just here to take up space and then die? These are pretty philosophical questions, I know, but they have been racing through my mind.
I hit a point a few days ago where I wanted to end it. It just didn't make sense - none of it. I'm in a place in life where things are genuinely good - I'm "living the dream" some people might say. I have a wonderful job, incredible friends, I live in a beautiful city, I have a growing online presence, and I even get to bunny sit the cutest bunny in all of the world. People comment on how dreamy it must all feel - to be doing what I want with my life. And some days it just doesn't seem like enough.
I've been really trying to get to the bottom of this. I've sort of been my own experiment for a few years now - trying to analyze what triggers make me tick and how I pull myself out of these "slumps." I'm still not sure exactly how my depression functions and why I feel bad when I do, but I had an epiphany that made me realize how to pull myself back up when I start to fall down. I want to share that with you.
Fifteen years ago - to the day - I lost my dad very suddenly. I was seven, almost eight, and I didn't know it at the time but my world completely changed. At such a young age, death is different than it is when you're older. You don't know people as well, you don't really understand what it all means. You don't think that you've formed a close enough relationship with anyone to notice that they're gone after a while. If you had peeked into my seven-year-old brain, I never thought I'd miss my dad this much 15 years later. I figured I'd miss him, of course, but he's been gone longer than I even knew him so how could it hurt so much to feel someone's absence?
Because the marks we make are far greater than we realize.
My dad impacted my life in a huge way in such a short amount of time that it made me wonder how much of an impact I could have with my own life. We all leave marks on people - it's really up to us what we do with that power. What kind of legacy are we leaving? Is it one worth remembering? Are our struggles all for nothing if we choose to give up and just end it?
I look up to a good amount of creative entrepreneurs/speakers and a lot of them have opened up about their personal stories and who they were before they were so influential. These are women and men who have inspired me to do 99% of the things I've done up to this point. Most of them have dealt with severe depression, even some contemplated or attempted suicide. This got me thinking: Where would I be without them? If only they knew the marks they've made on my life. Why don't we realize how important we are - how vital we might be in someone else's story?
That saved me - the marks. The marks that they've made, the marks a lot of you have made on me. The hope that one day I'll leave marks of my own, on someone - anyone. That I'll impact someone's story through a video or a blog post or just by being a friend. If the lows I feel can propel someone else to their own highs, it's worth it.
My heart aches for the people who don't have this realization. The ones who don't understand they will be missed when they are gone - that their lives matter to more people than they realize. That their story could change the world someday. Maybe we think it's selfish to think we're that important. But we are. We are that important.
So that's why I'm following up on that post from so long ago. I told you I wouldn't be ok every day and that was true. The internet makes it really hard to admit when things are rough. The bad days seem much worse when we have to hide them behind posts that we create a sense of false happiness. Honesty and authenticity online are important because that's what connects us to each other and makes us feel less alone.
Leave your mark. Make it genuine. Change someone's life.
I don't feel ok every day.
But I will be ok.
And you will be, too.