Such an unexplainable, unimaginable, undefinable word.
I never thought that this would be one of my trials in life.
I was diagnosed in the middle of summer 2016 and I remember trying to fight it for months before that. I did not want to have depression. I wanted it to be anything else other than that. I kept pushing it away and trying to deny it for as long as I could. I was lying to myself. I remember thinking, “Could I really be depressed? Is that what this feels like?” When it got to the point of where I couldn’t handle it anymore, I decided to go and talk to my doctor. I told her that I was, for the first time in my life, lost, hopeless, and that I had no idea what to do with myself. I vividly remember saying, “I just don’t want to feel like this anymore. This is not who I am.”
And to this day, this IS NOT who I am. I am not depression. Depression does not define me. It is a trial. A mental illness. One of the hardest things I have ever dealt with.
I was scared and embarrassed to be depressed. Once I got diagnosed, I slowly came to terms with it. Even though I was embarrassed to tell my husband and my parents, I did. As the months have gone by, I’ve realized that I don’t need to be embarrassed or ashamed. Like Jeffrey R. Holland said, “a mental illness is the same as having a physical illness.” I realized, I would definitely go to a doctor for a broken bone, so why can’t I go to the doctor for feeling depressed? I don’t need to be ashamed to talk about this. This shouldn’t be taboo.. but it is! This is real! This is life. 1 and 4 people have or will deal with depression. That’s a lot of people who don’t talk about it!
But, I understand why people don’t. I didn’t want to. It’s hard.
At first I didn’t want anyone to know that I had this “problem”. I didn’t want my husband to have to deal with a depressed wife. I didn’t want him to think that I wasn’t the girl he married a few months earlier anymore, because honestly, I didn’t feel the same– not on the inside. I didn’t feel like me. I didn’t want other people to know that I was “so weak” that I had to go to a doctor and turn to medication because I couldn’t take care of myself anymore. This was me being self critical. These were many thinking errors on my part. I’ve learned that all those negative thoughts, aren’t true at all. Would I ever think that way about anyone else who had depression, saw a doctor, or took medication? No. So why would I think that about me? Why did I have to be my biggest judge and critic?
I’ve asked many questions through out this whole process. I’ve gotten some answers and I’ve also had to be content with not having an answer for some of my questions. I finally let one unanswerable question go to rest.
Why? Why did I get hit with depression in the first place? I was totally fine and then the next day I wasn’t. Why and how does that happen? My therapist put me in my place as he said, “My relative was eating an avocado one day, and then the next day, she took a bite of the same avocado and had to be rushed to the ER. She literally developed an allergy to avocados over night. Do the doctors know why? No. But does she still have the allergy? Yes. Does she still have to take necessary actions to deal with this allergy? Yes. Sometimes we just won’t be able to know why. We just need to focus on what we can/should do now given our current situation.”
Everyday, it feels like a struggle just doing day to day things. Even something so small as brushing my teeth and taking a shower can sometimes seem like the biggest chore in the world. Sometimes I’ve caught myself laying down, wishing I’d just fall asleep so that time could pass. So that I didn’t have to deal with reality and all the things on my to do list.
I get exhausted constantly trying to keep myself moving and motivated. Motivation isn’t as free and easy as it used to be. It’s almost like I have to work for it. It takes tremendous amounts of effort and sometimes I don’t have enough of it to push through the day. Sometimes, depression wins. Sometimes, I don’t let depression win just because as I’m about to surrender, I tell myself, “You can’t let it win again. You are stronger than that.” That last cry for help usually works and will give me enough motivation to help me finish the day.
It just makes it all worse when I’m physically sick. I feel like I’m fighting a physical, mental, and emotional battle all at the same time. It’s exhausting and sometimes I get tired of trying.
I remember thinking, “When am I going to have some hope fall back into my life?” I felt as though only negative thoughts were present and that they had been weighing me down for a month straight. As I forced myself to get up off of the couch to do dishes, a wonderful thought came into my mind. One I had been praying for. It said, “See, this isn’t so hard! Your dreams and goals can be reached. It IS worth it.” And that.. was exactly what I needed to keep me going for the next little while. I’m grateful for moments like that. A small flicker of hope was everything and more that I needed.
In conclusion, I don’t judge myself or anyone else who has depression. I have been blessed with more empathy for people. I believe that that will serve it’s purpose in the long run in one way or another. I know that my husband still loves me for who I am. I know that I am still a Daughter of God with unique gifts and talents just like all of God’s children. I know that with Christ, all things are possible to overcome. Depression included. I know that I may never “overcome” or beat depression. It may stay with me for the remainder of my life. And if it does, I’ll just keep fighting it day by day.
All of you out there that are fighting depression or any other mental illness. Never give up! Never surrender. I believe with all my heart that we can all do hard things! Remember, you are NOT alone. I’m all about being vulnerable and mental illness awareness! Talking about mental illness does not need to be taboo. It’s time to break through the taboo! Does your story include a mental illness? Don’t be afraid to share and be open!
Visit next week for an update on my journey with depression– since I first met depression 20 months ago. I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite coping skills and tools.
For now, remind yourself on a hard day, to take a “mental illness day!” Take care of yourself! Love yourself and spend time on YOU! You deserve it.
Happy Wednesday! 🙂