So often I am told how lucky I am. I have undivided support from my family, a beautiful home, financial security, access to the most promising resources, help and education, a host of caring friends, not to mention my gorgeous rescue cat Maggie and puppy Grace. But nevertheless I find myself sadly unfulfilled, alone and riddled with crippling anxiety. “Why?” my friends ask, “you have no reason to be depressed, people would kill for your life!” When faced with such questions I automatically inhabit a ridiculous bouncing-like clown costume plastered with bugging eyes, red circle cheeks and a masterful smile, responding with “of course, I am happy. I have everything I could dream of.”
I question if I have a legitimate right to sadness. What gives me any credit to complain? What gives me the right to covet the graceful confidence in which she (model) walks, the dignity in how she (politician) raises her head up high in assurance of her confidence, the courage she (Amelia Earhart) displays in dedicated pursuit of her passionate quest?
So often I feel I do not have a right to sadness because of how full of a material life I have been afforded, because of how much stuff I own and opportunities available in my path. Part of me wants to slap myself in the face and scream “only an ungrateful brat would feel this legitimate depression in the light of incredible circumstance” but then a little voice reminds me what my therapist repeats: all feelings are real, although not always justified or effective to act upon, still real.
I am learning I am not a bad person because I feel sadness about my life. I am not an ungrateful person but rather like any other human experience jealousy or envy or desire. Judging from the sidelines a person may think they know what its like to live in my shoes, how they would feel and act and be but however right or wrong they are, it is not me.
What I am sure of is that hiding deep under the maze of tricks I play to convince my internal self I need to be happy is a locked box of unprocessed grief, sadness and regret.It is okay to show those feelings. I am teaching myself daily I am allowed to feel sad, to feel jealous, to feel happy and joy.
As a little girl the parable my future presented was a beautiful jeweled princess in a tree house, surrounded by toys, living happily ever after…I wish my path was as evidently easy to decipher as the winding map through Candyland to the castle but from where I stand its more like labyrinth- a collection of many roads I can embark upon, some I know where end in a familiar place while others I can only imagine. Taking the walkway of a brave sober young women finishing her BSW brings an intimate fearful discomfort but now for the first time in a while one overshadowed by an exciting frenzied desire for adventure and discovery.
I am a 24 year recovering alcoholic from New York City with Boderline Personality Disorder.