The One Thing I Never Said
By: Michelle Bogosh
November 10, 2014
If you ask anybody who knows me what one word they would use to describe me, it would most likely be “talkative”, “chatty”, or even “loud.” I talk constantly, to anyone, anywhere. I’ve always loved to talk and never been good at being silent. From the time I started school, my parents heard at every parent-teacher conference that I was a great student, but talked too much in class. I was even told that by one of my college professors.
For as much as I talk, I rarely talk about myself. At least not my real self. I don’t tell people my personal thoughts, I don’t talk about my feelings, and until recently, I never told people that I have mild clinical depression and anxiety.
I was 16 when I started to have symptoms. I felt disconnected from my friends, I wasn’t excited about things I used to enjoy, and I just wanted to sleep all the time. Luckily, my parents and doctor recognized that this was more than just the usual teenage moodiness. I saw a psychiatrist who put me on an anti-depressant. And that was that for 15 years.
Throughout those 15 years, I lived a generally happy and fulfilling life. I graduated high school, college, and law school. I always enjoyed spending time with my family and friends. Of course, I had good times and bad, just like anyone else. The worst was when my dad died 9 years ago. I was devastated, but I made it through. And I thought I was good. My mom urged me to get grief counseling, but I knew I would have to talk about my feelings, so I declined.
Last spring I started to feel differently. I was feeling sad about my dad, and decided that maybe my mom was right, maybe I did need grief therapy. I set up an appointment with a therapist and started to talk. But now, the words were different. I talked about my thoughts and feelings. I said out loud the words I had always feared: “I have depression and anxiety.” Suddenly, those words were no longer scary, they were freeing. Those words are not who I am, those words do not own me. My therapist encouraged me to start using “I feel” statements, and slowly, I did. This week at work I even used the phrase “I was feeling anxious.” That was huge for me! I’m still not comfortable sharing all of my feelings all the time, but I’m making progress.
My life has changed since I finally said those words out loud. I am so much happier. I had no idea before that I could be this happy, and now that I know, I am living my life more purposefully. I intend to be this happy (or even happier?) every day going forward and am making conscious decisions to attain that goal. I am ready to tell the world: I have anxiety, but my heart is CALM. I have depression, and I am HAPPY!
Bio: Michelle Bogosh is an attorney from Chicago, IL. She is an executive member of the Brandon Marshall Foundation Social Committee and is excited to be painting the world LIME GREEN!