Hi. My name is María Isabel. I’m an R&B singer/songwriter and I struggle with depression and anxiety.
I don’t know when exactly I started feeling it, some days I think I must’ve been born with it, but I do know that in high school I started needing more time off, more “me days” than ever before. I started feeling a kind of sadness I couldn’t ignore, but I couldn’t name it either. I spent most of my junior year of high school in bed. I fed my parents, teachers, and friends excuses about being sick, tired, or both. No one really questioned me. I think I did a good job of mitigating any real concern, and I kept my grades up.
Sad became my new normal. I felt empty, like I had a hole in the center of me, but I couldn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t know why I felt the way that I did. No one around me was talking about any illness that couldn’t be seen or detected on a hospital screen. I tried so hard to be happy and act normally but it left me so drained I could barely find the strength to get dressed in the morning. Everyday became about making it to the end of the day. My bedroom became my world and stayed that way through the rest of high school and all 4 years of college. All I could think was, life isn’t supposed to be this hard. I felt like I could barely function on such a basic level and if that was the case, how could I deserve to be here? How could I want to be?
It’s unfair. That a pain like this even exists. That so many of us have had to navigate through it with no help. I wish I could give you all a one size fits all fix. What I can say is that you should try anything that might help. There is no shame in what helps you. Talk therapy was something so foreign to me and I rejected the idea of it so many times before I was willing to try it. When I was finally diagnosed, it felt as though a decade of my life had retroactively clicked into place. By no means was naming it the cure, but so much weight came off of me because I finally had a reason.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have admitted to any of this, but I’ve decided to start writing like my life depends on it, because it does. My writing doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to anyone who needs it. If you’ve made it this far, I wrote this for you, but know that I feel lighter myself for it. Putting your pain down, sharing it, will always be a good idea. Some days I still can’t make my bed, let alone get out of it. My definition of a good day has drastically shifted. Some days I feel so in love with this life I can’t imagine ever letting go of it, in spite of all the pain I have been through. Sometimes I think maybe the pain has helped me appreciate the good on a deeper level. Even though, I myself still have a hard time believing it, you’re going to get through this. You’ve come this far, survived this much. I’m so proud of you. Keep going. I love you. Good things are coming. It won’t always be like this.