It’s been no secret if you read my posts that I tend to struggle with depression from time to time. I don’t think I will ever be fully cured of depression. It’s always been something that is there, lurking, waiting for the right moment to show it’s ugly little head. However, over the last year it has become more and more difficult for my little cloud of sadness to take over, and the credit for that has to go to jiu-jitsu and the mental strength that comes with it.
To rewind a bit, I’ve had a few posts that I’ve tried to write and post here that have had a common theme: how ridiculously happy I am. I didn’t end up posting any of them because honestly they just seemed kind of boring for others to read and repetitive. No smart ass humor, no funny little puns, just straight up giddy, life couldn’t possibly get better than this, happiness.
But, here’s the thing about those of us that face challenges with depression, like I said, it’s always right there just beneath surface, waiting for your weak moment, a crack in the armor so that it can seep through and take over. The funny thing is that before this round of depression hit, I was so happy that eventually I was pretty much expecting something bad to happen. Who knew that happiness could inflict fears like that? Like I was so happy that I was almost terrified that something was going to come along and take it away.
And, something did.
Unfortunately, as you probably already know from personal experience, people are assholes. And my family got slapped in the face with that realization. I not only had to deal with it personally but also had to watch the impact of it on my family. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so protective over my family and I carried that hurt I saw and felt like a backpack and let it weigh me down like it was loaded with rocks. And, it was fucking heavy.
I’ve learned so many valuable tools over the last year and half to help me cope with this kind of thing.
Reject the negative.
Look at the positive.
Don’t give that much power over your well-being to others.
Keep moving forward.
And, when all that fails, just say “Fuck ’em,” and move the hell on.
As easy as it is to say those things, it’s not so easy to make them work all the time. I tried. I really, really tried to focus on the good in my life and get back to that ridiculously happy point. I didn’t give in to my depression. I didn’t stay in bed. I didn’t mope around. Instead, I fought back. I kept working out, I kept eating healthy, I kept focusing on the positive and moving forward. But, it felt like I was moving forward through sludge. I tried and it felt like none of it was working.
Until I would step on the mats at SFC.
It was like an instant relief from my little dark passenger. I mean instant. Like I had taken a drug and it had washed away the shit I was dealing with.
I was effortlessly smiling, having fun, enjoying the people around me. I was back to my ridiculously happy place. I knew that jiu-jitsu was having a positive impact on my life for sure, but it almost blew me away how much better I felt when I was at SFC. The happiness even followed me home.
However, if it was that easy to kick depression’s ass, I wouldn’t have even noticed it coming to the surface in the first place. By the next day, my sensitivity would get the best of me and I would be back in the dark. For almost two weeks I’ve done this.
Go to class. Feel great. Let the hurt seep back in. Fall back into a funk. Go to class. Feel great. Let the hurt seep back in. Fall back into a funk. You get the drift.
The great thing though is that after each class the happiness lasts longer and I can feel the depression getting weaker and weaker.
Yesterday the day was going by so slow because I couldn’t wait to get to class. I had spent a large part of the day in a little bit of a funk and I knew what “drug” I needed to get past it.
I’m telling you, I stepped on the mat and an instant smile formed and never left my face. I had victories, I had losses, and I had a wonderful time through it all. I had so much fun talking with other people, smiling through pass-sweep-submit, rolling and learning. It was such a relief from what I had been going through. My husband asked me if I felt better, my response was, “I feel amazing. I feel like I’ve taken an anti-depressant, like stepping onto the mat is my cure.”
And, it is.
This morning, as I write this, I feel like I’m back to my blissful reality. Grateful for the life I have and the people in it. It’s like jiu-jitsu removes the fog and I am able to focus on the good in my life.
A great marriage with a husband that still, after 13 years, makes me so, so incredibly happy. Sometimes we are so happy that I can’t believe how lucky we are that out of this whole world and the many different crazy paths we’ve both taken, we somehow found one that led to each other. When it comes to marriage, I can’t imagine that it gets better than this.
A strong, loving relationship with my kids. They might drive me insane from time to time. Hello! We are going through pre-teen-dom! Losing your sanity is not optional. It isn’t always easy but they are both loving, caring, good little dudes that I am proud of and I am so happy to be their mom.
Between the marriage and the kids we have a home we have built together and find comfort and happiness in. “I love our family and our life!” is something we say often.
A mom, an aunt, a sister that are always there, supporting, having fun, loving each other, and adopting in those through marriage like they are one of our own. They all treat those around them with kindness and respect. It’s also no secret that I’ve had issues throughout my life, and this family has never left my side no matter how difficult the situation was.
A group of badass, inspiring beings, full of heart, determination, and perseverance that may try to choke me and kick my ass, but they do it to make us both better. You just can’t find more quality people than you can on the mats at SFC. I’m sure of that.
And jiu-jitsu, I’ve never been this mentally strong and I have jiu-jitsu to thank for so much of that. Sure, I’ve struggled with depression the last few weeks, but because of jiu-jitsu and that mental strength I’ve been able to stop the bullshit I create in my own head almost immediately. I’m not adding to crap we have gone through with my own poisonous thoughts. I may have still felt depressed, but I didn’t add or create more sadness out of nothing, out of ridiculous things I make up to beat myself up with. I’ve never been able to conquer that part before, to stop my own bullshit before it even starts. Jiu-jitsu has taught me more about life and myself and what I am capable of more than anything else I’ve ever encountered.
Jiu-jitsu has not only helped me to face and conquer the bad in my life, but to also see and value all the wonderful in my life as well. I’m convinced that it is my cure for depression and as long as I continue to train it will give me the tools to handle both my own self and how I deal with those that try to bring me down.
Depression can fuck right off. I’ve got jiu-jitsu on my side.