A Two Year Anniversary with Depression
Some of the most popular songs in the world spell it out for us. They literally could not be truer. And it’s not a coincidence that most artists write or sing about pain and suffering at some point in their career, constructing metaphorical poetry regarding their time of mental instability. And let’s be fair, we love listening to them. Mostly because almost everyone can relate to them…
Some of the most relevant ones: Everybody Hurts – REM, Basketcase - Green Day, Re:stacks – Bon Iver, Just – Radiohead, Suicidal Thoughts – The Notorious B.I.G… Just to name a few. Depression gets to the best of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, how perfect you think your life is, or how much you think you’re immune to it. We are all prone to a chemical imbalance.
I am about to reach my second anniversary with depression and as you’ll probably guess, it has not been an easy ride by any means… but I am learning to live with it.
Earlier this year my motivation to make every day count started to slip because I thought “Ahh I’m OK now, I’m over the worst of it”. I stopped actively manifesting, I stopped taking time for myself, and I stopped consciously thinking happy, healthy thoughts. It was silly of me to think that I had experienced the worst of it in 2017 and that because I spent a couple of months in Hawaii healing myself I would be rid of the darkest of days. I was wrong; the worst was yet to come. I let life take over. I forgot about the work I had to put in to stay afloat.
Although earlier on in the year I had managed to start working on myself, and felt successful on my journey… a storm came. It left some tricky and troublesome obstacles in my path and the mountain of things I needed to get though in my head got significantly bigger with more difficult terrain. On top of everything I was dealing with, I put my vulnerable, exposed self into a situation that I wasn’t prepared for and I came out of the other end of it destroyed. A shell of the person I know myself to be. And just two months ago I began to think about how I would end it all. I simply could not recognise myself anymore, or see any way out of feeling the way I did. It was lonely, dark, and scary. It was a dilemma between not wanting to live but not wanting to hurt anyone by taking action and letting go of life. Such thoughts were so alien to me and terrified me.
Tapping into the self
Thankfully, I could feel this tiny part of me screaming inside to fight through the darkness and take action. I knew it was the real me making that noise. Deep down I knew that I had to fight the dark thoughts and try to save myself. I knew I had let it get too far. Every minute of every day my mind would tell me I was nothing, that no one loved me, that my life is hopeless, that there is no point continuing, that I was disgusting, bad at my job, a bad friend, a bad daughter, sister, niece and aunty. My anxiety was through the roof, tension headaches and migraines were present 24/7, and my tears were constantly on standby.
I knew it wasn’t me. My usual world is beautiful, bright, and clear. I usually see beauty in everything. I see laughter, nature, love, energy, and light. The world I was in was dark, everything was negative. People’s faces were sad and angry, skies were grey, trees were ugly and dull, my mind was foggy and only focused on the negative thoughts being fed into my brain. It was as if I had blinkers on. I was inviting people into my life that had a negative impact and made me feel even worse and my self-worth began to plummet.
I knew my mind was playing tricks on me. The small part of me I had left was dissolving but it fought hard and strong and helped me to put things into action again. It made me realise that I was very sick and that there could be a cure or at least a treatment and I knew I had to try and get to it. Now and again it would remind me of the human I once was and how connected I can be with life, love, the world, and how the dark energy I was experiencing could be defeated.
After realising I couldn’t fight this bout alone, I started seeing a counsellor. He has helped me get to the root of the most recent cause. He has truly been instrumental in helping me understand myself, my brain, and how my life history has shaped me, my wants, and my needs. I also booked myself some acupuncture, started filling my body with purity and goodness again, I started taking time out to get away from the hustle and bustle of life to clear my head, ground myself again and redirect my thoughts. I become very careful about whom I invited into my life. I actively started manifesting again which has brought me some amazing life experiences recently. Ones which I know will be a snowball effect bringing love, happiness and positive vibes. I can recognise myself and love myself again.
I can now see the positives in this illness. I know you may ask, how can one pull positives from a mental health problem…? Well, the thought of letting myself spiral down again creates a powerful, compelling motivation to do everything right. It gives me a reason to be proactive in every aspect of my life. It keeps me wanting more; more happiness, more health, more love, more energy, more motivation, more light, more knowledge, more kindness. It creates an awareness of which I did not have before, such as selecting the people who I invite into my life very carefully, only inviting and keeping those around which I know will provide me growth, mutual love and care. It makes me hungry for the education of mental health so that I can support myself and others. It makes me appreciate even the most average of days because they are painless and beautiful. Gradually, it is making me a better person. The fight is making me stronger, more resilient, fearless and powerful. I am grateful for it, as the outcome outweighs the bout of darkness.
I used to try and “get rid” of my depression but I’ve realised it will always be there. Just like certain viral infections and diseases, depression is especially pernicious as it is able to “hide”. It takes maintenance every single day to keep it in hiding, to keep afloat in the realm of happiness. There is absolutely nothing worth that kind of darkness. But everything is worth your life and your happiness.
As humans when we get sick, we take medicine, take some time off work, rest, and follow doctors’ orders to get better again. When we have a lifetime illness we take medication and make other sacrifices in life to ensure that physical illness does not get worse or return. We put so much work into keeping that health issue at bay. But why do we not do this with our mental health? When someone is sick with a disease we provide so much sympathy and support. Yet when someone is mentally ill, oftentimes there is a lack of care, understanding, or sympathy.
As I learn more on this journey, I feel confused and distressed that mental illness isn’t brought to our attention as much as physical health. The fact that people can go their whole lives disconnected from themselves because they don’t know how to make themselves better from their illness, burdens my brain. People with mental health issues deserve just as much sympathy as those with physical health issues. The stigma that comes with mental health should not exist. I hope we teach our future generations to notice signs and help those who may suffer.
Like me, your loved ones could be suffering in silence. Reach out to the people you love, look out for the signs, and alert your inner intuition. We are humans - we love, we connect, we feel. We have just forgotten how to.