I guess I never really knew what it felt like to be depressed, so I didn’t see it coming until I was deep in it. I had no idea how debilitating it is.
Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t cope, other times I felt like I didn’t want to. I felt so disconnected and vulnerable, I rarely left the house. I barely ate or did chores. I didn’t even shower regularly!
Friends and family outside the home were sympathetic at first, but when I wasn’t myself after a couple weeks, most stayed away. Some suspected I was crazy, and they whispered behind my back. Others just didn’t know what to do. And let’s face it, I was no fun to be around anymore.
I did consider going on anti-depression drugs, but I knew why I had gone down the rabbit hole; several challenging situations had occurred simultaneously and I was in emotional overload. But I wanted to transcend the pain, not disguise it with medication, so I made the decision that I was willing to be happy. To me, this meant taking one small step forward, which I did literally.
I walked around the block. This may sound simplistic but I was barely doing more than laying on the couch in my dirty pajamas. It took a lot of effort to walk around the block that first time, but I forced myself to do it, and then I did it every day. I even showered afterwards! Soon I felt motivated to do other things.
I made little jars of “love” to give away. I went on Pinterest and learned how to make homemade hand scrub. I bought little glass jars to put it in and decorated them myself. Then, with a grateful heart, I gave them away. The more “love” I gave away, the more love I felt. It’s very hard to be depressed when your heart is full.
I became stronger than the fear. My husband knows me best and has only my best interest at heart, so when he told me I was “adding color” to every fear thought I expressed, I believed him. I soon realized that the bigger the fear, the bigger the story I created about it. And I could spin a story for hours! I had to train my mind to recognize fear when it came up, and shut it down.
I came to realize that no one can fix me but me, and that’s the way I wanted it. I stopped crying on people’s shoulders. I stopped pretending they had some magic wand I didn’t. I realized that being a friend (or husband or parent, etc.) does not mean babying someone long-term. That is disempowering. When I took responsibility for myself I felt stronger, and I was able to let go of the resentment I felt for the people who had “turned their backs on me”, knowing it was counter-productive.
I gave myself permission to end relationships that weren’t serving me, or at least change the dynamics of them. This was hard because when you’re depressed you already feel isolated. But I realized that being authentic and setting boundaries for myself was more important to me than maintaining status quo. The interesting thing is, all my relationships are better now. New and old.
I am proud to report that I am a stronger, happier, healthier version of myself today. If you are in the midst of any form of depression I want you to know that you are not crazy, even if it feels like you are! You are going through something right now, and even though it feels like the wall of pain is impenetrable, it isn’t.
Do one small thing to help yourself today. Do another tomorrow. You will be better today than you were yesterday, and you will overcome.