It Isn’t Just You

A couple of days ago, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) posted this.

Because the browser on my phone hates me, it was nearly midnight that night when I read her post. And I cried. With each word, my heart ached. How could this woman who doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground know exactly what is in my mind? Jenny asked for her readers to respond and they did. At the time of my reading there were nearly 3000 comments. My heart leapt at the the thought of commenting myself.

What would I say? Would she even see it?

How to make some sense out of the jumble of emotions she had stirred?

After some thought, I decided I would email her. She might never see it, but it would be cathartic to me. This is what I wrote:

Hi Jenny-

I’m emailing you because my comment would have been forever long and well, I’m a bit of a chicken about putting all my words out there.

I have RA, depression, anxiety, and coming soon to a theater near you, endometriosis. I’ve battled with my self image for as long as I can remember, most of my 31 years.

I have an almost 13 year old son who lives states away with his father because I couldn’t stand up enough for myself to fight for him. I can’t work but don’t (yet) qualify for disability. I am forever starting things and only occasionally finishing them.

The things that count as successes?

I didn’t give in today. I got out of bed. I might have spent the day on my couch in pajamas, but I got out of bed. I remembered to unplug my laptop when the thunderstorm started. It might have taken all the alarms on my iPhone, but I remembered to take all of my medications at the right time. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

They might sound like stupid accomplishments to someone else, but to me, they make the difference. If I don’t count those things, then I might not have anything to count. And that’s when I start to believe the voices in my head. That’s when I listen as they tell me I’m not good enough.

I agree with many of the folks who commented on your post. It’s all a show. I don’t think there are really people who have it all together. If they say they do, they’re lying. Or they have a team of people to do it all for them.

I won’t sit and tell you how awesome you are because that’s not what you want or need. But you are awesome. I will tell you what a wise woman once told me:

Celebrate each thing you do, each decision you make. Because it all counts. Don’t push so hard to be positive, instead be realistic. And when you’re able to do that, be really real with yourself, you’ll realize how much you really do each day.

That’s it. That’s how I survive. I count each and every thing. Because it’s better to count breathing as an accomplishment than insignificant.

It all matters, Jenny. All of it.

After I wrote the email, before I could hit the dreaded send button, I read both Jenny’s post and my reply to my fiance. It sparked a huge discussion where I tried desperately to explain depression and how it manifests for me. After many tears I decided I needed to share this all here. Because if I can help one person to see the light that was so graciously shared with me, then we’ve accomplished one hell of a big thing.

And it all matters. All of it.

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