Come on in! Don’t bother taking your shoes off. I was going to clean the floor later, anyway.
Here you will find articles on depression, anxiety, self-care, faith, the writing life, and everything that could possibly sprout from that combination of topics. Click around, explore, and make yourself at home!
So why “Dancing with My Octopus”? I am here to sate your curiosity.
I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder two years ago. I had just graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, and like many people my age, was trying to orient myself in a place with no familiar landmarks. I also was in a pretty dark place with my faith. I grew up Protestant, and while I had spent over ten years pleading with God to talk to me, in my heart I pushed Him away. The stress and sadness I had carried with me all my life came to a breaking point, and my body started to mutiny against me. Soon after I moved back to my hometown, I lost my appetite. I felt the constant urge to punch a wall. I went running until my feet hurt. The tears I had always managed to keep hidden in the murk of my subconscious were surfacing almost all the time, and I couldn’t stop them.
Two months in, I had my first panic attack. I started taking three-hour long naps after work, just to get away from the watery depths of my anxiety. When I woke up, my existential fears were there to wrap their cold, slippery tentacles around my head. Distracting myself didn’t work. I remember trying to chop lettuce in the kitchen, with shaking hands and tears streaming down my face.
One day a close friend asked me to come to Mass with her. Despite my many misgivings about religion, I went. And somehow, against all odds, God broke through to me there. I heard Him say, I love you. On that day I began the long and painful climb toward recovery.
I still wasn’t ready to face my fears. It’s hard to breathe with a faceful of cephalopod. Running away from what I was afraid of only made the octopus follow me. So, there was nothing left to do but dance with it, keeping it at arm’s length until I was ready.
My hope is that by reading my words, you will feel a little less alone. You, the human being reading these words right now, have an entire universe of beauty inside you waiting to expand and touch everything around you. You are beautiful. You are capable. You are smart. And the world is a better place because you are here in it. Let’s get through this darkness together.
With love and hope,