It has been a while since I posted on here, on any kind of social media basically. Since I value transparency to my readers & followers and I hope to encourage others with similar struggles, I want to explain why I have been absent.
Although it started out that way, I think it’s obvious this wasn’t just a little social media break anymore. Right after we got back from Viva Las Vegas 22 and our Florida trip, I fell into a dark hole. Again.
Truth is, an intensive combination of therapy and finding effective meds just in time made it possible for me to even go on this holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I felt very honored to be a finalist for the Miss Viva Las Vegas contest and getting to travel with my husband, but there were many moments I wanted to cancel our trip and give up my finalist’s spot to another girl and stay home. When the therapy and meds started to gain effect and better days kicked in, I was finally able to plan my Viva outfits and started to look forward to our holiday.
On our holiday, we decided to take things at our own pace and my husband made sure we didn’t go overboard with planning and wanting to do everything at a tight schedule. This relaxed atmosphere combined with the sunny weather and beautiful/exciting places put my mind and emotions at ease for a while. I really enjoyed our second honeymoon and wedding anniversary.
Back home, the holiday endorphins started to wear off. I know it’s normal to lack enthusiasm getting back to work after a holiday, but this darkness I was feeling started taking up more space and dominated my everyday life, again. Every day was a battle from morning until evening and even at night. Getting out of bed, although I was awake, was a massive hurdle. I couldn’t do anything in the household, not even help preparing food. Having to get dressed and ready to go out for work or just anything else I had planned (and what I should look forward to) were the worst and something that would keep my mind restless. At night, I would lie awake many hours and if I eventually fell asleep, I would wake up countless times and my mind just couldn’t find a break. And I started reconsidering “a way out”. It took me a little while to realize I had fallen down “the dark hole” again.
It’s hard to ascribe one clear definition of what my “dark hole” is. It’s a heavy and bitter cocktail of depression, anxiety and disproportioned perfectionism. Everyone has experienced sadness in their life, got afraid of something and wanted to perform great, but for me these things controlled my life every single day. I felt very dissociated, as if I was on the outside looking at my own body. I couldn’t really feel any emotions but worthlessness and a dominating anxiety. I feared people not liking me, not being good enough and taking up space I don’t deserve. To compensate, I would try to present a perfect version of myself, looking and acting in the perfect way. However, perfection is hard to achieve and on top of that, I would always set the bar even higher for myself, leading to inevitable failure (in my mind) and continuing the chain of worthlessness. Eventually I was anxious to come out of the house and felt like a waste of life.
My “dark hole” came into my life approximately 10 years ago and has gotten progressively deeper. The hole was at its deepest and darkest last year in June, when I couldn’t see any other way out than to end everything myself. Luckily for me, my husband saw the warning signs and called for help, as I couldn’t.
I have been in therapy since July last year and only start to pick the fruits of it now. A big deal for me was to firstly accept being a psychiatric patient, but I’m grateful for the mental healthcare system we have in Belgium. Therapy is pretty intense. It doesn’t just stop when the session is over, I have to work on myself all the time and try to notice the warning signs before falling back. I’ve mostly spoken about my “dark hole” in the past tense. But just because I smile in pictures and don’t show it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The darkness is still very present today, just not as dominating as it used to be last year.
The path of recovery is never linear and definitely not in case of mental illnesses. So these past months, I’ve slipped back into that dark hole a few times, but luckily found the rope to crawl out always on time, thanks to the support of my husband, family, friends and reliable doctors who take my issues very seriously.
This has been a vulnerable thing for me to post. I’m not at all looking for compassion. But now that it’s out there, I hope to offer support to someone who needed to hear this. If you are or know someone struggling with anything I mentioned, don’t cope with it on your own and please reach out. If you want a listening ear, I am here for you and I would never judge you!