Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Peaks & Valleys

Sitka, AK

I'll be honest: it's been a rough few weeks. Grad school stress, hormones, and a dash of seasonal (PUNS!) depression  have combined forces to make me a sad, messy mess as of late. And it sucks. 

I've finally come to accept that my battle with depression, anxiety, and panic will be ongoing. There will be peaks, and there will be valleys. I'm learning to cope with this, even thrive despite it. But the fight is still difficult. For too long, mental illness has been so stigmatized. I want to be open about this struggle, because I know that I'm not alone. 

I've learned how to detect my personal symptoms of depression: withdrawing from loved ones, exhaustion, excessive dwelling on negative feelings, not wanting to get out of bed, feeling gray. I can identify the symptoms. Finding the strength to get out of bed and cope in a healthy way, rather than just crawling under the covers and eating another bowl of cereal, is another matter. 

I'm making every effort at healthy means of self-care. Often, I equate "self-care" with "shutting off my brain." This means that I often look at watching hours of Netflix and eating graham crackers with frosting as taking care of myself. (Spoiler alert: It's not.) Today after work, I forced myself to not just go home and crawl into bed. I went to the gym and ran a few miles. I practiced my violin in preparation for an event I'm playing in later this week. I read a few pages of my book. And for the first time in a couple of weeks, I felt better. Not 100%, but better. 

Though this winter feels endless, life feels overwhelming, and there are days where I just want to flee to the mountains, deep down I know there is hope. Though I may currently find myself in a proverbial valley, it's a valley filled with love and light, despite the clouds. I know the light will shine brighter once again. So until then, I will continue remind myself there are mountains on my horizon. 


  1. Love this. I've been dealing with the worst anxiety of my life the past year. It's good to know that bad days will be equaled out with good ones. I recently picked up Demi Lavato's book called Staying Strong. It's little quotes and thoughts about marching forward and being true to yourself and making your life beautiful.

  2. I love your comment about self care. That's my biggest battle right now- understanding the difference between slumping into stuff I know makes me feel worse in the long run, and doing "work" that will fill me up afterwards.

    1. Thanks, Ashlie. I apologize for not responding sooner. I hope you're finding yourself in a brighter place and enjoying the summer sunshine.