Hiding

Good day everyone! I hope this post finds you well.

So… I failed the 30 day vlog challenge. And I’m okay with that. The last four weeks have been emotionally exhausting and honestly, I didn’t have had it in me to be vulnerable on video. If you are a follower, you already know that I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety as a result of PTSD. This bothers me a great deal because my life is good. I have friends who are going through some really tough times right now and honestly, I hate that I fall into major depressive episodes when my shit is nothing comparatively.  But then I am reminded of one of the first things I learned at the beginning of my journey in recovery; just because their story is worse, doesn’t mean yours isn’t valid. In other words, it’s okay to feel the way you feel despite the fact that others have it worse. So here it is…

Four weeks ago, my youngest son got in to a fight at school and was suspended. He’s in 7th Grade and it’s been a rough transition for him. It turns out, he was being harassed by older students in his PE class. He did not start the fight but he did finish it. He did exactly what I have taught him to do. The unfortunate reality is, even fighting back didn’t make the other kids stop harassing him.  No matter what course of action he took, the situation just got worse. Every single day my kid was harassed and intimidated. The school’s resolve to the situation was weak at best.

Following that fight, I was on the phone with someone in Admin from the school every single day. I am not exaggerating. Every. Single. Day. It started to become one thing after another and he was VERY quickly labeled as a behavioral problem. The teachers would simply kick him out of class or send him to the office because he was “too fidgety” and “distracting” them. My son actually has a 504 in place because he suffers from ADHD and other disabilities. He is is fidgety and distracting when he is in stressful situations. The 504 is a Federal Document that allows him special accommodations to help deal with all of these issues while he is in the classroom. In a very short period of time, it became clear that the teachers had not reviewed this document and were in no way familiar with its content; despite the fact that I had spoken to each one of them about it at Back to School Night.

By the grace of God, I have a friend who is very well educated in the ways of the public school system here. When I reached out to her she helped me find the resources I needed to get my son the help he needed. In the process of getting assistance, we found out something that honestly, shocked us all. He’s gifted. He’s what they call “Twice Exceptional” or “2E”. He has learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and he’s a frickin genius. Who knew!? We were quickly able to get him out of that school and in to another school where there are resources available for kids like him. But it has proven not to be a quick fix. He had problems at the old school up until the very last minute he was there and has had problems at the new school every day since he started.

So what does this have to do with depression? Well, a lot actually. I should have been happy and relieved to have found a solution for my little guy. But the stress of it all was eating away at me and I didn’t notice. I was in mama bear mode and I was doing it alone. Please don’t get me wrong, my husband is a wonderful man. But he works 16-18 hours per day so that I can stay home and take care of the kids. This is a double edged sword. The reality is…I’m a single mom and the fight has to come from me and me alone.  I didn’t realize how much that weighed on me, until it was too late.

I want you to understand that depression is NOT a choice. If it was, believe me, I wouldn’t let it happen. It is a disease. Something I thought I had a handle on. But when it hits…it hits hard. No warning…no flashy lights to let you know you just turned on the wrong road. Just pain. A pain so deep that you can’t reach it. So intense that you can’t explain it. And because I don’t feel like I have a right to feel that way, ever, I hide. I put on a face and pretend that everything is okay. I avoid people if I can, but if I can’t, I associate cautiously and take great care to create the illusion that everything is okay. And if I were to post videos…you might see it. So hiding is much easier. And that is what I have been doing for the past four weeks…hiding.

But yesterday, I realized something. My goal in this life is to help people. To be transparent and honest. To show everyone that we can overcome anything. But if I’m hiding, I’m not overcoming it and I’m not being honest or transparent. So then, I’m a liar. The very thing I want to teach people is the very thing I am not allowing people to see.

So, the reality is this: I am coming out of a two week long major depressive episode. And it sucks. But it’s my realty and it affects my family, my friendships, and my goals in life. And here’s the thing…I am NOT the only person in this world who suffers this. I am NOT the only person who feels like they shouldn’t feel this way. I am NOT alone. What’s even better… YOU are not alone.

Maybe the fact that I can recognize all of this proves that I am on a healing path. What I want you to take away from this is that I will stand strong in my attempt to change the world. I will help the people who are like me…even if it means I can no longer hide.

Until Next Time,

Connie Ann

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