What makes me RAD?

I first wrote this blog in May of 2015. It was 3 months after the birth of my second child, and I had just decided to leave academia permanently. I was enduring a severe battle with postpartum depression, and, unbeknownst to me, alcoholism (addiction). I started running again soon after my daughter was born, and this was one of the many ways I selected to avoid dealing with the shit under the rug of my life. I was in bad shape. I knew that I could no longer stay in a career that had no clue how to support families, or live in an area where my income did not support my family. There is this idea that professors have all this free time, and it's not true. The institution I was act had expectations for hours in my office and availability to students, research, meeting obligations (usually in the evening), and other student support that would potentially fall on weekends. I worked a lot. I was pregnant through that first year and it was stressful. I missed my toddler at home. Then my daughter rocketed into my world and I knew, I was done. 
My spouse was supportive, and hunting down graduate programs so he could move forward with his career, having taken time off to be a stay at home parent during my career beginning. 


This period of time would begin a whirlwind of disappointments for us.
But here's the silver lining, the story of me isn't over.


It would get far worse before better.
And this would last for years...

I am constantly evolving and healing and growing.
And, right now in this moment, I can honestly say I am not depressed.
The unconventional journey to how I got to here exists throughout the posts in this blog. From pain points to revelations, all the way to finding out I had never lost myself. Even to being able to confidently type about self-love. Yes, I love myself.
I'm supposed to give you a disclaimer now, this is my journey, please seek medical advice and know that your journey belongs to you. That being said, I firmly believe healing is for EVERYONE.
I will type that again for you.
HEALING IS FOR EVERYONE.
Not all of us will reach a point where we can choose this, and I will grieve for those that lose their battle. Today I grieve.
I share these words in hopes that just one life will be saved.
Perhaps it will be yours.
My life was saved, many times over, by people who shared their stories, time, and love.


I am leaving this old post below, it is a reminder of how blind I was to the depth of my problem. Yes, I admitted I had a problem here, but it would take years for me to realize depression was just a symptom of a greater problem...that I hated myself.What makes me RAD? I am a human. And I happen to think embracing our humanity makes us all RAD.


~ Dr. Jessica

5/19/2015 - The Beginning
I guess the first step is to acknowledge the problem. A little bit like an addiction, ignoring the glaring beast will get you maimed or killed. Ok, so now you have accepted that it is really and truly there. Now what? After decades of ignoring and confronting I can only say that true acceptance only comes to those that are ready. No amount of growing up or education will facilitate the arrival of this moment. You simply must be ready.

Well fuck, I guess it's time to be ready.

I have depression. I am not depressed, it does not define me. I have depression like I have blue eyes and freckles. It is simply one small, albeit often ridiculously annoying, component of who I am. I am fairly certain I have had depression a lot longer than I would like to admit, but it's true regardless. I've fought this beast head to head for some time, and sometimes I pretend it's not really there. I have tried to define its existence, usually by naming a cause or rationale for its presence. But it doesn't matter. 
I have depression.

So what, lots of people have depression. Lots of people take journeys to understanding and embracing all of themselves. This is true, yet my journey has led me to places you may not know about. To ways of living with depression, instead of against depression. 
Because let's face it, there is not a cure. 
I promise you. 
And the evidence suggests there never will be.  I would know, I have spent a long time studying psychology and neuroscience. But this doesn't mean we throw in the towel. 
We need to redefine depression. It is not a disability until we let it become one. I am not going to give you a solution, I am going to tell you to go out and find your own. Without shame. Without fear. Because you must learn to live with who you are, all of yourself. Depression AND freckles.


Are you running against depression/anxiety? 

Are you brave enough to admit you are RAD?



 


Do you need help? I did. Here are some resources I found useful.
National Suicide Hotline: 

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