In the Spotlight: Raha A
Writing this is truly eye-opening because I’m confusing myself with my thoughts.
To everyone who knows me, I’m the easygoing, fun, upbeat mom-of-two that never complains.
I may have developed a habit of shutting out problems that could potentially unsettle me. I don’t talk about them because I don’t want to be a nuisance.
But I don’t deal with these problems either.
So, I get why I keep forgetting how drastically depression affected my life.
All those emotional meltdowns my two daughters had to see, before I realized I missed taking my meds.
Those dragged-out arguments over petty matters with my husband—who’s one of the most supportive and devoted men to ever exist.
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression in 2011, and it’s chased me ever since. After the birth of my second daughter in 2017, it hit me again.
I don’t fight my depression anymore—I submit to it.
I almost have faith in it. At least depression won’t abandon me.
Every day I know it’s there. I let it take me where it wants.
Even though my mental health issues don’t affect the quality of my work, they certainly affect the work opportunities available to me.
I’ve been a freelance writer for nine years, but have never accepted a video/voice call interview. I don’t want to put myself through the anxiety of communicating with strangers. No amount of money is worth that.
At times, I’ve bluntly told clients that my social anxiety doesn’t allow me to accept calls. Now that I think about it, almost 100% of those clients have gladly given me a ‘text message’ interview instead of subjecting me to the torture of a call.
That was kind of them.
But I’m often forced to give up really fun, high-paying jobs. Don’t want to tell an absolute stranger that I’m an anxious mess over phone calls.
Wow. I don’t ever think about this stuff. My slightly tattered mental health can’t take it.
But this box of locked-away experiences is definitely open now.
As I sit here at my usual ‘work’ café writing, I’m recalling what my average day truly looks like.
Jittery nerves every time I visit a new place. My infamous habit of never picking up a call. An unfailing tendency to show up early everywhere—because I'm worried about being late. Frequently pulling over by the side of the road until my anxiety over meeting new people and seeing new places passes—just enough to let me breathe.
One step at a time.
This behavior is so normal to me. It doesn’t even faze me anymore.
Since I can’t do anything about this blizzard in my head, might as well just get on with it.
I don’t really remember a life any different.
Some people definitely have it worse. I admire their ability to fight through these cloudy feelings.
My own survival depends on still being able to acknowledge that I’ve been excessively blessed in my lifetime. I’m desperately grateful for growing up with privilege and opportunity and comfort.
I’m grateful to have a skill, which allows me the seclusion that my anxiety needs. Sit in a corner at a cafe without interacting with strangers, yet still support my family.
I’m grateful that I can coddle my flaring depression by taking days off work whenever I want.
I’m also kind of grateful that I don’t ‘look’ depressed.
Who knew high-functioning depression could be a bonus? I mean, it could be worse.
So much to be grateful for.
But just like Olaf, I have my own personal flurry—only this one’s pretty dark and gray.