professionally depressed

I’m currently experiencing a bout of depression. I’m still figuring out how to show up as a professional at my job while allowing space for my depression to breathe and do what it needs to do. My teacher frequently references the buddhist idea of inviting our demons to sit with us. The idea is to say, “sit with me, have tea” instead of trying to push away or deny negativity.

Working in recovery can be difficult. It’s also a wonderful environment, where my bosses and peers understand and have compassion for mental illness. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a hard time owning my mental health status myself.  I encourage others to be open and allow themselves to be themselves, but I have a hard time applying that suggestion to my own struggles.

Sometimes I wonder if admitting I am depressed means I won’t be taken seriously. Intellectually, I know that likely won’t happen. I’m not any less brilliant when I am depressed. A bit foggy, sure, but definitely not less brilliant.

I am big on communication and letting people know exactly where I am and how I am feeling (within appropriate boundaries). The thing I struggle with when I am depressed is that I don’t exactly know how long my depression is going to last. So, when should I tell my boss that I am struggling? I don’t want to alert the troops on day one. What if it only lasts one day? So, I think that’s what I am trying to figure out.

I had a great talk today about the support I need at work and what can help me through this undertow. I feel so accepted and loved. That’s really all I need from others. The rest is sort of up to me. I need to remain vocal. At Menninger I learned (it was a big surprise) that people cannot read my mind. So, it’s really up to me to communicate what I need.

I feel so grateful that I work in an environment that is so accepting and willing to support me through whatever I need to walk through. I can show up, give my best (whatever that looks like right now), and accept the love (something I sometimes struggle with).

so, how’s married life?

This is the question I have been getting a lot, and I cannot get enough of it. I love the fact that we are newlyweds. We have entered a whole new world that we really weren’t convinced we were entering. Honestly, we didn’t think it would be that different.

There was this one amazing night early in our relationship where we went to my favorite not-so-best-kept-secret spot in Austin. We talked about what we think happens when people die, and why we stay alive, and where we were when we saw the most stars we’d ever seen. That was the night we fell in love. And throughout our engagement, we sort of referred to that as the night we got married. Our actual wedding was just going to be a big, fun dance party and not much would really change.

But something did change. It does feel different. And this could very well be the feeling of having a very new wedding band on my finger. However, people with a lot of experience and years of marriage told me that marriage feels different. (I didn’t believe them). And marriage does feel different.

Honestly I’m not really sure how to describe it because I’ve never felt anything else like it before. It feels like a whole new level of commitment. A stronger love. An unfiltered sort of thing. I know that’s all very helpful.

Our day-to-day lives haven’t really changed. We are back into reality with work and grocery shopping and leaving the dishes for each other to put away until finally Jonny puts them away and I say, “babe! I was totally going to do that!”

I’ve had a little bit of depression come and go. We were prepared for that. When I get overwhelmed, I get depressed. And I don’t get overwhelmed by much. And my brain heard the word on the street that I was getting married and she was like, “y’all, let’s get ready, this girl is about to be super overwhelmed.”

So, on the outside, everything is normal. It’s very interesting how it all (the inside) works. Like, when I look at Jonny, I feel this sort of sturdy presence about the room. I feel it in my bones. I still worry that he’s going to die all the time, but I definitely don’t worry about it as much. I have a much stronger feeling that he will always be there. Almost like it’s just a fact– he will always be there. I’ve never really had that feeling about anyone.

The thing that Brene Brown has said that I relate to and struggle with the very most is that we dress-rehearse for tragedy. I have my outfit picked out for the funeral of every person that I love in my life, because for all I know, they’re going to drop dead any minute now. And I just don’t feel that as much with Jonny right now. I’ll keep you posted.

We took a few days off of work after our wedding (we’re going on our real honeymoon in June), and that was the best part (other than our vows and our friends and my dad’s toast and Jonny’s dance moves at the wedding). We spent a whole day walking around with no agenda– no groceries, no people coming over later, no house to clean (we were staying at a hotel). We walked in to stores with no purpose, we saw a movie at a movie theater (and we hadn’t planned it out beforehand), our only rule was that we weren’t going to talk about our plans for the next day. It was glorious, and we agreed that we would like to keep having days like that in married life.

I just got home from work and our new puppy (he is so stinking cute, and we got him one week before our wedding, which we don’t totally recommend but also completely recommend) is sleeping on my feet. Jonny is on the phone with his best man. We’ll go to a meeting tonight and then grocery shop for the week and then go to bed and wake up tomorrow and do it all over. And we’ll do it all married. We’re really digging that right now.