In the previous and very first blog entry I said that to create your own happiness you first have to accept that there is something not working in your life; this will mean different things to everyone. To me this meant having to cure my depression and anxiety, which I’m sure most people are familiar with.
First, I want to say that I don’t blame anything that has ever happened to me on anyone else. This is how life works and sometimes things are just the way they are. I also believe that we are all responsible for how we deal with our emotions, but the problem is that no one teaches us how to do that.
My cousin, who had moved in with us when we were both kids, had a lot of issues. I can’t really tell you what happened to her because I was a kid as well so I’m not quite sure, but her problems led her to a drug addiction and with time she became an extremely aggressive person. This affected all of us differently, but the one thing that was true, for both my mother and I, is that our home was no longer a safe haven.
When one person is suffering it affects the people around them just as much. Growing up in an unstable environment made me develop a very fickle attitude. My highs were very high and my lows meant entering a dark hole where all my insecurities were echoed incessantly. They would invade my dreams at night, robbing me of the few moments of peace I had. Sometimes I felt so alone I could feel myself disappearing. Night time started giving me anxiety so I developed insomnia. Going to sleep meant having to relax and you know what they say: an idle mind is the devil’s playground. I’m not even sure how long this went on for because time did not exist. One day would blend into the next, and all of a sudden a month would have passed by and I was still in the same place. I was forever stable watching the few friends I had move on.
With time I realized – and I think this could be true for everybody – that what I needed was a safe place. I found this in one person: my mother. Her patience through my awkward silences, answers confined to monosyllables, and random stares into oblivion, made me want to try to be better, especially since she was going through a tough time herself and was constantly worried about my cousin.
The first lesson I learned was that you have to make an effort; you have to want to change your situation. I couldn’t build my path because there was too much noise in my head and the idea of leaving the house or meeting people gave me anxiety, as it meant I had to face the reality of my situation. However, making the extra effort to be with my mom helped me wake up slowly. For a short second I would feel ok, like things were not that bad and I could actually make them better. I would feel something other than nothingness and I liked that feeling.
Getting rid of depression or anxiety is a nonlinear process. It took a very long time before I was able to truly believe I was healthy, and the biggest and most important part of this process was learning to control my thoughts and my emotions, and most importantly, stop harming myself. I truly believe that what saved both my mother and I is that we care. I wanted to be better mainly because I didn’t want to cause her any more suffering and she wanted to remain strong for me and my cousin.
Caring about someone else is what helped me be able to start saving myself.