The purest way I can define life is that it is a beautiful, long and daring struggle. A constant series of problems to be solved with some pretty amazing bits sprinkled in. 2016 was the best and quite possibly the worst year of my entire life. I can recall sitting in my hotel room in Florence, on my honeymoon, trying so desperately to figure out how I could possibly be sad in that moment. And most of all, feeling extremely guilty for dragging my new husband, after our perfect wedding, on a two week tour of Italy while I had little interest in any of it. I had just experienced a day that I had been dreaming about my entire life and my uncontrollable emotions were all but breaking my heart. Traveling was something that had always made me feel like I could fly, but this time around, I felt stuck so far below the surface I could scream.
Depression doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to those of us who have it, but it begins to take a more logical view once you’ve come out on the other side of it, like I have now. It certainly, however, makes very little sense to those of us who have never had to endure it. Personally, I kept myself under lock and key because I was worried that people would think I was weak in some way. I had just gotten married and I didn’t want my anyone to think my husband was the reason for my sudden melancholy feelings. Which was far from the truth.
When you go through something like depression and PTSD, the most difficult part about it is trying to relate to the normal people out there in the land of the living. How do you make conversation with them? How do you carry-on with your day as if everything is just fine? And if you do want to talk about your problems, can your friends and family even handle it? I found that many of them, understandably so, could not.
I used to wonder the same things that my friends and family might have. Why can’t you just be strong and snap out of it? Telling yourself to “be strong” when you’re depressed, is like saying “Hey, why don’t you just take a casual hop over the Grand Canyon?”. It’s just not possible to flip a switch and “feel better”.
This post may not be about the best places to see in Tuscany, which I can certainly give you a run-down on later, however, I dare to say that travel showed me that there was something seriously wrong that needed more attention and care than I was ready to give it. It’s like there was this huge chasm between how ought to be feeling and how I actually did. There was a reason for all of it, although at the time I couldn’t see it. I was placed under a ridiculous amount of stress with wedding planning, purchasing our first home, and an unexpected diagnosis of PTSD. Unfortunately it happened to coincide with all of these wonderful festivities. I don’t want to discount my wedding itself. It was a day that was filled with joy and it was the best day of my life despite all the chaos and struggle that surrounded it.
Life is funny that way. You can plan all you want, but sometimes these problems to be solved come to fruition at the most inconvenient times. That being said, life and God always have a way of giving us clues on our journey, as well as teachers. As I stared out over the vineyards and rolling hills of San Gimignano, Italy, I felt broken and worthless. A new wife to a wonderful man that I loved more than words could say who reassured me that despite all this, everything would be okay. I realized that day that my battle against depression and PTSD was far from over. It might not have been the greatest timing, but at least I knew.
Almost 10 months later, I am free of depression’s shackles and lonely ridicule, and I thank God everyday that I have a man next to me that was ready to take me into battle against this awful, lonely disease of the silent mind. I thank God for tiny moments of clarity in far away places and beautiful humans like my Husband, Henry. To you both, I will always be grateful.