Cutting ties with depression is very different and unique to each person who experiences it. Some never claim defeat over depression and live with it forever. In sharing my own experience , I would like to express my mindfulness in knowing some experience greater difficulties without support while enduring depression. My journey was difficult for me and I am mindful other’s journeys are as well. With respect and love to all others fighting the battle of depression, here’s mine:
Once I finally claimed victory over the battle I was having with myself, not only was I restored personally, I was better for everyone else, too.
If you’ve known me a while then you are all too familiar with this story I’m about to share. If you met me during the past several years then you may wonder, how could someone like you have ever been depressed? It’s true, I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt hopeless, useless and uncertain about any and everything. I have isolated myself for weeks at a time, avoided my friends and families phone calls and texts. I have laid up in my bedroom with the curtains drawn and slept for almost entire days. Yes, I’ve been there, I have done that.
I went to the doctor, I got prescribed an antidepressant and I took it daily with a desperate notion it was going to make me better.
After months of taking it, I felt less hopelessness and I was able to leave my house and actually be around other people. I was able to take the occasional phone call and respond the occasional text. Yet, though I was able to be more interactive with the world and the people around me, something still wasn’t right. Even though I was experiencing depression there was still a time I kept returning to in my mind when I had been “me”. This was a time when I was my true, happy and normal feeling self. I frequently took myself back to a time before I lost everything, when I was the real “me”.
At the time, I couldn’t tell you how I got to the point where I was. Depression. Shit…I still can’t. The good news is, I don’t have to. After I began the antidepressant, I started to feel better but I still didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like “me” the person I had always set out to be. Even though, on medication, I was certainly feeling better than I had in the previous months; I didn’t feel cured. Every time I went back to the doctor I tried explaining this awareness. The doctor either didn’t understand my anguish or didn’t care. I would leave my appointment with another refill for an antidepressant and head to the pharmacy to get some more. As months passed, able to be more productive than in earlier times, I also began to clear some clouds that’d been blocking my perceptive. As they were clearing I was able to self-reflect more, ration with myself.
My Nana has always been my best friend. She has always looked out for me, and not just a grandmother kind of way. She has always spoken to me with love and care however, when she feels a need for things to get “real” (and maybe even offensive) she is willing to take it there. One day, during my time of making progress, Nana decided to share something with me. Out of the blue she looked at me and said,
“Mallory, what you think about, you bring about.”
Taken by her remark, I looked back at her and said,
“What are trying to say, Nana?”
She was sitting at the desk in her home office. She turned completely around in her roller chair then facing me entirely and proceeded,
“Life is real, making it full of realities. Everyday, everyone is faced with numerous situations. And we all have choices, one of those choices being, how we are going to think (with an emphasis on “think”) about the situation at hand? The mind is a powerful tool and your ability to use it strongly or weakly is all up to you”
“Okay, let me think about this.”
She went on to share an example similar to this one: Remember the other day when you were bitching about going to your sister’s house and watching your nephew? You didn’t want to do it yet, you told her you would. Because you truly didn’t want to engage in this favor but decided to do it anyway, you set yourself up for failure. You then felt negative and unhappy about your favor and probably didn’t enjoy yourself either, because you had already decided to have a bad attitude going in to it. What you think about, you bring about.
Her message was clear. Her message was insightful and useful. As I was leaving Nana’s house, she stopped me on the way out. She handed me a book and told me to take it home and read it. I took it from her hand, told her thanks.
After I got into my car, before tossing the book onto my passenger’s seat, I read the title, “The Secret” by, Rhonda Byrne. Now, I can’t lie and say I went home and immediately began reading the book, though the title was tempting.
As time passed, still making progress with my depression, the bigger issue of trying to get a hold of that “me” I had lost still lingered. Had depression scarred me so badly I would never be the same? Surely not. I began to feel hopelessness longing for a piece of myself I feared I may never get back. Not the biggest fan of self help books, one day while I was at home alone, I decided to read the book Nana had given me. Okay Rhonda Byrne, let’s see what you’ve got. I was definitely unconvinced this book would do a damn thing for me but I’m here to tell you, I appreciated it. In case anyone hasn’t had the chance to read this book, I won’t go into too much detail but I will mention my 4 takeaways.
1. Appreciation (be thankful)
I realized when I allow myself to think about all that’s not working for me or going my way, all I’m doing is attracting more of it.
2. Thoughts are possessions
My thoughts possess energy that form my internal discourse and self-perception.
I needed to learn in order to control what direction I was headed in, I needed to keep an active awareness of my mood and attitude. Reflecting on how one’s feeling within and learning to adjust to a more positive and outgoing mood, sets them up for success. I am now conscious that my attitude is everything and that my mind is my most powerful and valuable tool.
4. Taking care of yourself
I know I have to attract those people and situations that won’t make me resentful. I have a choice not to involve myself with people and situations where I feel as if I am sacrificing. It is my choice to take good care of myself and by doing so, the people and places I allow myself to be a part of contribute to this well-being.
There are countless insights in the, “The Secret” and I am glad Nana lent it to me. I was able to develop a new self-perspective on how to move forward which was especially needed during a time in my life when I was accompanied by depression. The more days that passed, the more thoughtful I became about what I’d learned. I made a big decision.
I woke up one Sunday morning and instead of taking my antidepressant, I didn’t. I told myself, if it is to be, it’s up to me (something else Nana always says). I was determined to feel like “me” again and with my newly discovered insights and determination I cut ties with the medication. I learned the hard way that quitting an antidepressant cold turkey probably isn’t the best method. I was very sick for about 5 days. I threw up and had a terrible headache and actually found myself back in bed all day. However, after the awfulness of my incorrect winging method took its toll, I was fine. I was well physically and mentally. After weeks of hard work and dedication to a new way of thinking (and no medication) I found myself starring in the mirror unleashing an unavoidable smile I felt sprout from deep within. After so long, it was “me”.
I know all cases of depression are different. I also know that my experience with depression probably seems like a walk in the park compared to some others. What was life changing and helpful overcoming depression for me is not exactly what will help someone else. But everyone’s battle with depression is just as important as the next. I do believe sharing my story helps keep an active awareness around depression, that it can happen to anybody. My hopes in sharing my battle with depression is that someone who is experiencing the same thing can relate and not feel alone. I know what that loneliness feels like. Another reason I chose to share my journey is because I have noticed a few friends of mine openly express struggling with depression. To those friends: You are not alone. I’ve been there. It’s hard. The days seem longer than they possibly could and the nights do, too. Go to the doctor. Reach out. Seek help. Make your voice heard. I am here for you, thinking of you and there is always a place in my heart for you. It will always be here for you to come claim when you’re ready.
Thank you for hearing my story.
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