I haven’t quoted Elizabeth Gilbert for a long time and then somebody asked me why they had depression and when I tried to answer them, something that Ms Gilbert wrote in Eat Pray Love came to mind. In this section of the book, she is in Italy trying to start afresh with her life when Depression suddenly finds her where she least expects it:
“Depression and Loneliness track me down after about ten days in Italy. I am walking through the Villa Borghese one evening after a happy day …….. and I get to thinking a little too much, and then my thinking turns to brooding, and that’s when they catch up with me.
They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me – Depression on my left, and Loneliness on my right. They don’t need to show me their badges. I know these guys very well.”
Whether it is depression or anxiety, migraines or any chronic illness, these illnesses have the ability of hitting you when you least expect it.
What doesn’t help is getting angry and frustrated and constantly asking “why me?” and “why now?” and crying that it is not fair.
Yes, it is not fair! But what are you going to do about it? You are not going to change it.
Acceptance is a difficult thing but when you reach a level of acceptance, it is far easier to work on being the best you that you can be rather than letting whatever your illness is determine who and what you can be.
When your illness pops in for a visit, invite it in for tea but don’t let it stay for too long. It is literally about saying – I recognise you and I see you are here but you do not determine who I am and you do not stop me from living my life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to say “I am not coping right now”
Illness is NOT a sign of weakness – it just happens to be the challenge that you have right now.
And that amazing, awesome person that you are is still there – don’t ever lose sight of that!