Cheshire Cat's Grin

Getting Real

This is what my demon looks like.

This is what my demon looks like.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional. My frank discussion of my personal journey should not be construed as medical advice. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other medical concern, there is no substitute for qualified professional guidance.

My inspiration for blogging has been low lately. I generate a list of topic ideas, and lose interest. Instead, I’m obsessing about things that are part of my daily life, but don’t fit the theme of my blog. They don’t support the lighthearted point of view I wanted to portray in this project. If I am to be authentic, I need to move beyond this “portrayal” of the public Amy Cherie Copeland, and get real.

I’m talking about my dark side, the struggles I experience with anxiety and depression. The fact is, mental illness is keeping me from reaching my potential in life and in the job market. Sometimes it feels like the drawing above, in which I’m drowning in a sea of my own tears while a storm rages all around me. Other times, it feels as if I’m slowly coming apart in a very visible way, like the zebra in my doodle below.

I’m not sure how much I want to share publicly about the details of my life which are making me feel so low. The thing about depression and anxiety is they aren’t necessarily “justified” by the outside events of a person’s life. I might tell you what’s getting to me, and you might say, “Why don’t you just put on your big girl panties and deal with it?”

Coming Unravelled  (2002)- a workplace meditation

Coming Unravelled (2002)- a workplace meditation

But it’s not that simple because sometimes the demons have a life of their own. It’s the old “nature vs. nurture” argument. I was born with a sensitivity that made me susceptible to these patterns. Then I had relationships and experiences to reinforce them. Now there are new patterns and triggers in my life bringing me back to a dark place.

So far, I’ve only hinted at mental health issues in my previous blogs. In taking it head on, my fear is that I’ll be thought a melodramatic “look at me” kind of blogger. Reality TV in general makes me want to puke, although I will confess a weakness for The Voice.

Still, I feel compelled to share parts of my inner drama, but to what end? By articulating my challenges, I not only hope to gain clarity on my own condition, but also to offer others my take on a pervasive human experience. I hope to reach others who need to know they are not alone, as well as to gain new insights from my readers.

7 thoughts on “Getting Real

  1. Laura Morey

    Amy – This is not a “Look at Me” kind of post. People struggle with the very same things you do, and I think being able to give a voice to those experiences and feelings are what others need to read. The others I refer to are those who are afraid to speak up and admit to how they are feeling- they can’t articulate it. They need to know they are not alone.

    I think this was a lovely post, and you keep sharing your thoughts and feelings. I’m reading!

    (And yes, blogging is hard – I try to pull myself out of my “moods” to create what I do, and it is a challenge as well! Currently, I’m using this response to postpone my own blogging requirement!)

    Be well and don’t worry about pulling up those “big girl panties” – we should all be allowed to waddle around with them around our ankles when needed! It can lighten the mood!

    Keep blogging about this – people need it.

    Laura

  2. Charles

    My son Christopher and I thought, without telling the other, that an “opposite” drawing of the first drawing would be so awesome to look at, too. Based on envisioning how happy things would be portrayed inversely proportionate to the level of sadness conveyed in the first drawing. It is a powerful image more to see in person, the digital pic takes away a bit of the impact, but glad it shows another side of life. We all have our moments in the tempest, some of us fare better than others in the aftermath of it.

    1. Chris Paige

      That ‘opposite’ drawing is something that will come out of the work about to be done. Believe me, there is nothing more a depressed person wants to do: be cheerful and happy, but are UNABLE. That’s the reason it’s so difficult for family members and those in general who have never had clinical depression to fathom. If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to relate.
      This is NOT a criticism…just information for all who are on the ‘other’ side of the fence in the depressed person’s life. The usual ‘cheer up, things will get better’ phrases do not apply here.
      And… thank you to all the people who have helped, supported, understood and fought for the ones who could not do it for themselves. We, in turn now, can do it for others. :)

  3. Chris Paige

    LOVE this! People need a way to ‘talk’ about this stuff and I’m so glad to see a page just for that.
    Thanks, Amy, for being brave enough to tackle this head on and for being open to others who have the same needs.
    <3

  4. Pingback: Walking on the Moon, Part I | Cheshire Cat's Grin

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