October 2020

My first depression diagnoses, post-natal depression to be specific, was in 2009. I think depression was present in my life prior to this, but this was the first time that I had the "label" and could start to think about what that meant. At the time I was struggling. I struggled with pregnancy, I struggled giving birth, I struggled to recover from birth and I really struggled with a newborn. Sadly, I was not graced with the maternal instinct that it seemed to me, everyone else naturally had. My instincts pushed me to learn everything I needed to know, to cover the basics, but I always felt like I was failing and not doing things well enough. I had a lot of guilt about not really knowing what to do as a Mother. I had a lot of peoples' opinions, often differing opinions, flying at me constantly which added to my stress. I found my self-doubt often creeping in and it was hard for me to work out what was right or wrong and I ended up second-guessing my every decision which caused a lot of confusion and conflicted feelings in my mind. My confidence was near zero. Unless of course, it came to things I was passionately decided about like safety and health. I would not budge when it came to "safety first", no matter what type of pressure other people would put on me to "go with the flow" if I thought there was an element of danger, I wasn't having a bar of it. I was also always very staunch in my views around healthy foods, nothing processed or high in sugar was the way I wanted my little girl to start off life, and develop healthy habits. This wasn't met with approval by all, but I made my views very clear and this made me feel a little in control.

This is an interesting one. Learn the rules. Break them. Do it properly. This is a process that I think we all naturally participate in, through every stage of life. From the time we take our first breath we start learning rules, habits, traditions, laws, whatever you want to call "the rules". We walk around, hands outstretched trying to locate the boundaries. Sometimes the boundaries aren't really acceptable to us, so we push further. Tweens and teens seem to have the highest ability to locate the area just on the other side of your boundary fence, it's like a special git they receive once leaving primary school and transitioning into intermediate school.

Do I even care if people like me or not? In theory, the answer should be no. In reality, the answer is definitely yes, I do care if you like me, I care even more if you don't like me. I have no idea what type of conditioning causes these feelings but I place the opinions others have of me in a very high place. When I think about it logically, it's bizarre. Allowing people, even people who don't know me to somehow make a judgement call on my worthiness. Yet it has been something I have always felt deeply.

This has been one of the most consistent messages in my life. I have fought and fought to make things work that were just never meant to. Showing a great amount of persistence, sure, but wasting so much good energy and denying myself happiness in the process. There have been people in my life who would praise me banging my head (figuratively, not literally) against a wall. Praising me for really giving things my all and not "giving up". As if realizing that something isn't working, and making changes, is some kind of cop-out or weakness. I know now that this place of understanding and change is exactly where your strength and power is and once you start using it to design your life the way you choose, there is no going back to old patterns. I have come to learn that consistent struggling is not the way we need to experience life. In fact, this is to be avoided at all costs. When something isn't working or doesn't feel right then it probably isn't and it's time to move along. Remaining attached for attachment's sake is unhealthy and will eat away at your inner peace. In years gone past I have experienced FOMO (Fear of missing out) like you wouldn't believe. I could feel distraught about missing out on things I didn't even really want to have, or do. Crazy right.

To me, respect means boundaries. Both setting them for myself and acknowledging other people's. Respect means not overstepping into an area where I am making myself or anyone else feel uncomfortable. It has taken me a very long time to learn the true value of respect and I still trip up on it at times. As a child, I was taught that respect was demanded of you by someone else, usually someone in an authoritative position and that I had no choice but to give it. Respect meant doing what I was told and not questioning it even if it made me uncomfortable, upset or totally went against what I felt comfortable within myself. I realize now that this is not what respect is. No one can demand to overstep your boundaries nor should you expect to trample inside of someone else's.