On Taking it One Day at a Time

A few weeks ago, I shared a depressive episode I was going through on my Instagram story. It wasn’t my intention but in a split-second-decision I posted a series of childhood pictures with captions detailing my current emotional struggles. Up until then I had experienced multiple triggers that I thought I had under control but my usual coping mechanisms weren’t working. I continued to dip further and further; I had low energy and unchecked negative thoughts with crying and feelings of hopelessness. All of which led me to my Insta-post. I let the story run for the full 24  hour cycle; two friends reached out to me. The first was a friend from my days living in Los Angeles, who said he sometimes felt the same way and that we must take it one day at a time. And the other–my friend in South Bend–said this:

Oh, friend! You are a joy. You are joy. You are a gift. You are light. You are a delight. And these photos show you have been ready for the world and its adventure for forever. I know it is a long work to undue/to reimagine/to create when there is so much pain deep in the bones and heart, and you have been gifted with a deep patience and openness to the work of healing. It is not a fun gift (though you are so good at being open to those, too!), but it is taking you into your power everyday. How lucky we all are to know you and love you…

It’s hard when circumstances require healing (or longer healing), but I am grateful that we have language and resources to do that when our parents and grandparents could not. So all those ahead of us and around us benefit in the commitment to it. Wishing you continued clarity and satisfaction.

What. A. Fucking. Word.

I cried.

I felt seen. Understood. Held in a space of gentle care.

I didn’t post what was going on with me for attention or to engage in trauma porn. I did it because it felt right at the time. And in return, I received such gorgeous words–words so powerful and painfully thoughtful that they seeped into my heart, taking root in my soul. My friend’s message helped me to reimagine my healing journey–to see value in my patience and openness to the work of healing. She helped me come to a deeper understanding that my healing work wasn’t just for me but for those who came before me and those who will come after. Her words also reaffirmed the truth that I wasn’t alone. Something that is important to know when darkness sets in.

Then, like a feather floating along on a breeze, the idea of resuming antidepressants landed softly in my lap. I tried antidepressants in my 20s–I hated the side effects and stopped. In 2018, I tried them again after finding a very understanding general care practitioner to help me through an unmanageable moment in my life. But again, I stopped because I didn’t think they were working. At that time, I wanted a pill to instantly make me feel like my best self and when it didn’t happen I relied on unhealthy coping mechanisms to dull the pain.

Why would antidepressants work this time? What was different? Was I a failure for taking medication–like perhaps I wasn’t doing enough on my own? I sat with these questions until I could clearly see that a lot had changed. For example, I was coming up on a year of consistent therapy; I was eating cleaner and getting a little movement in my life; I had a lovely, albeit mischievous companion pup and I lived in the same city of my mom and friends support system. Therefore, needing medication on top of what I already had in place was not failure. In fact, it was pretty fucking amazing to not only recognize where I was in my depression but to be open to healthy adjustment.

I made an appointment with my general care practitioner who was happy to see me again and was more than delighted to hear how far I had come. She didn’t harp on my weight; instead, she prescribed an antidepressant that didn’t have weight gain as a side effect. She was as encouraging and supportive as she was almost three years ago when we first met. My friend said that the work I was doing was taking me into my power. As I walked out of the doctor’s office, I felt powerful. At that moment, I also decided to take it one day at a time.

Gifting myself the freedom to be present, allows for this work to continue without resentment or a push for a nonexistent finish line. 

A few months ago, I was hesitant about describing my healing journey as work. I thought people would reject the word and avoid taking care of themselves in that way. But I can’t sugarcoat the truth. It takes courage and a lot of work to care for and heal ourselves. Inner-work is grueling. It takes multiple starts and stops. You never know where you’re going until you get there. It costs coming out of your comfort zone and a willingness to be open to change and adjustment. Believe me when I say, the payoff is greater than the sacrifice.

In my dark moments I normally lose hope. I’d move in the energy of what’s the point? I’ve come to realize inner-work is all about hope–something we deserve to have. There’s nothing wrong with hope. It’s a bubble that drifts about. Yes, it’s fragile but it’s also a gentle reminder of brighter days ahead. I’m grateful to be here today. I’m grateful to have hope for my present and my future. I’m grateful for my loving friends and my soul-mom; I’m grateful for you, dear reader, and I hope you continue to find your way one day at a time.

All my love,

Chantell Monique

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