Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Life Lessons with Izzy: Choice

I love this quote from Harry Potter.  It is so relevant to Izzy's life in this book.  And quite frankly, it is relevant to my life as well. 

I posted a Life Lessons with Izzy last time that dealt with choices and making the decision whether to be happy or sad.  I also did a whole section on change.  Well, this post relates back to those a bit. 

I guess I should start off with me, and having to choose between right and easy.  I am sure you want me to get right to the nitty gritty of revealing a snippet from See How She Fights.  Alas, I am going to wax poetic about my life first.  (Fair warning, this one gets a bit dicey.)

Choice.  Some things in this life I have absolute control over, while others are entirely out of my control.  To preface this, just so you have the chance to jump ship if you wish, this post is going to be about how depression has shaped my life and the choices I have had to make to overcome it..... still here?  FANTASTIC!  Let's carry on.  (See, I am totally procrastinating.... just like in the other life Lesson).

My depression is not something I can control.  It is not something that I can magically wave a wand and make it disappear.  It is something that sweeps in out of nowhere and threatens to pull me under.  I have dealt with this never ending ebb and flow since I was a teenager.  Back then, I just thought I was angsty and emo. I had no idea that the feelings I was dealing with were abnormal.  I had an amazing life.  I made great grades, my parents unconditionally loved and supported me, I had great friends.... yet somehow I always felt like I had a darkness pressing down upon me. 

I am one of those rare and strange creatures... I am an optimist that also suffers from depression.  As a coping mechanism I became overly happy about everything.  I would put up a front to protect myself so that no one saw how I was really feeling.  It all came to head when I was in high school and turned to more destructive behaviors to cope with my issues.  (Those of you that know me well know what those were, but I don't want to go there just yet.  I am not quite ready to open that up for the world.)  When my mom found out, she was heart broken.  She had no idea I had been dealing with the pain that depression brings. 

Once I faced up to the problem, things started to get better.  Then, in college, depression reared its ugly head again.  This time I ended up broken out in hives because I felt so overwhelmed by everything going on in my life.  A lot was changing very quickly and I mentally could not cope with it.  I saw the signs.  I knew what was happening.  I was falling back down that dark hole that had trapped me for so much of my adolescence.  I knew I had to make a decision about my future and quickly.

You see, in my case, my choice was simple.  I could choose to let depression rule my life.  I could let it blot out all happiness and hide in shame from my issues for fear of what people might think of me, or I could choose to find help for myself.  I wanted a better life.  I wanted to be able to face the day without worrying about being pulled under.  So I talked to my parents, and then to a doctor and I was put on medicine. 

Through the years I have dealt with mild depression off and on.  I have learned to control my depression now.  I can see the triggers, and know when I am slipping under.  Luckily, these days those times are few and far between.  I have my husband to thank for that.  He helps me keep myself in check.  He can see it coming before I even do, and when it gets too bad, I am not afraid to ask for help.  I don't need it all of the time, but when I do I am no longer afraid to ask. 

So whatever it is that you are putting off, whatever it is that you fear.... sometimes you just have to make a choice.... otherwise the choice may be made for you.  I chose not to let my depression define me. 

In this book Izzy is faced with a huge decision.  She has to choose what her future is going to be, and it isn't an easy choice to make.

Excerpt from See How She Fights:
"... You still have a choice Izzy.”  Kennan said gently.

            “No, I really don’t.  Not if I want to be able to look myself in the mirror everyday.  If I walk away what happens to the Seers?  What happens to the future of the Council?  If this is where I am meant to be, how can I turn my back on that?  No matter how scared I am, I can’t let Seers die if there is something that can be done to stop it.  So no, I don’t have a choice.” 

            “You did just choose, you know?”