It’s just a phase I’m swimming through

When I was a child, I was captivated by the enchanted tale of The Little Mermaid. Everything associated with it held a special allure and, even today, one of my most precious belongings is a swimming bag from the 90’s film that holds this catching phrase: “It’s just a phase I’m swimming through”. Little did I know that this childhood treasure would become a powerful reminder of my own journey through the depths of my mind.

For the past few years, I have navigated a tumultuous sea of emotions, facing a reality I never anticipated: depression. It all started with  a series of losses, and a lot of grief. In just three short years, I lost seven cherished friends and family members, alongside a beloved dog, my job, and even faced the aftermath of two car accidents. I feel like navigating through a non-stop storm that insists on drowning me, and I just keep struggling to keep my head above water.

Amidst the agitation, I found myself wrestling with emotions that defied explanation and my very own personality. As someone known for spreading joy and laughter, the weight of my own sorrow felt suffocating. And it has become harder and harder to put on a smile for others when I can not seem to find one for myself. 

But here is the thing about depression: it does not always make a grand entrance and announce itself out loud. Sometimes, it sneaks in through the back door, disguising itself as exhaustion, irritability, or just a general feeling of numbness. And that is exactly what happened to me.  For a long time, I failed to recognise what was happening, so I told myself I was just tired and that things would get better if I simply pushed through.

However, turning 40 has just added another layer to this internal battle. It has been like reaching a milestone but realising that you are not where you thought you would be, and that the dreams you had for yourself have not quite materialised as imagined. So, this has also been a time for reflection that, truth be told, has proven to be a painful process.

Nevertheless, there is one thing I have come to realise: it is okay not to have it all figured out. Or, as that famous K-drama says: “It’s OK not to be OK”. Life is messy and unpredictable, and it truly is all right to stumble along the way. What is important is that we keep moving forward, or rather, swimming through. 

So if you are like me, know that vulnerability is not a weakness but a testament to our humanity. Reach out for support, lean on those who care about you, and take whatever steps and time you need to find your way back to yourself. You are not alone. 

Depression is real, it does not always look the same, and it can affect anyone, regardless of how “happy” or “together” they may seem. Yet, with compassion, understanding, and the right support, it is possible to find light in the darkness and calm in the storm. 

I do believe this is just a phase I am swimming through, and there might even be a good reason for all the pain I have experienced, even if I can not see it right now. After all, as Mr. Roosevelt once said: “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor” – or, in my case, a resilient mermaid!

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