Depression has been seen as a taboo item to talk about in the past. Sometimes when it is brought up the usual remarks vary from “Don’t talk about it, it means you are weak, depression isn’t real, snap out of it, etc.” sound familiar? Well I’m here to say that it is a decidedly real thing. It is a feeling, an emotion, a thought, a little voice inside our heads, and unfortunately at times it can turn into actions. My hope in this post is that you can understand that you are not alone, other people, myself included have dealt with depression. You are not alone and there is so much hope for a good future for you.
Depression comes in so many different forms. Sadness everyday, a sluggish tired feeling, ups and downs and a feeling of being alone and invisible. There is hope though, I am living proof of that! The pain will subside and you will overcome your obstacles!
My struggles with depression helped form me into the person I am today. I can enjoy the simple things because I once saw no future for myself. I was so introverted that I could not see the difference between a dark and stormy day or one filled with sunshine and birds singing. For years I was simply existing and not living.
My depression lead to many forms of addiction. I couldn’t go a day without satisfying at least one of my addictions. I had things that happened in my life that I could blame my circumstances on. I could go through my life without any changes and be miserable and depressed. I think that if people knew everything that I had been through in my personal life they would say, “I can understand why you feel the way you feel” or “you are entitled to be depressed and have addictions in hopes to numb your pains”. Instead of accepting my life for the way it was, I decided to change it.
For the longest time I was so depressed the only way I could describe it was that I felt like drowning in slow motion. I could not yell out for help because I was alone and nobody could hear me. If someone did hear me I felt like I would not trust them with my innermost secrets, feelings and thoughts. I was alone, I was tired of fighting for a future that I didn’t want.
I came to a breaking point in my life. I went to the Emergency Room three times within six months because I thought that I was having a heart attack. My chest was aching so bad that it hurt to breathe. I was unable to maintain my weight, I would eat and then my body would reject it. Please understand that I have never dealt with an eating disorder but I felt that my organs were actually at a point of shutting down. I remember a little over a week in my life before the third hospital visit I was able to eat bananas and pedialyt, that was all the my stomach would handle. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Pedialyte is a drink that helps rehydrate people (usually kids) and replace nutrients and electrolytes when people are dealing with vomiting or diarrhea. That last visit to the hospital made me scared, it made me realize I needed a change. I didn’t know what to do, where I needed to go and I had no idea how I was going to get there.
Don’t think that the third visit to the ER snapped me out of depression and magically changed me, I still struggled. My struggle actually became worse than ever, I was seriously depressed and struggling with poor thoughts. I had sunk to my lowest of lows. I was afraid of being alone. I threw myself into work. One week I received a paycheck that showed 80 hours of work. That should have been a red flag for me but instead I kept up the pace.
During the last year of my depression I had started a health journey, I was running 2 miles 5 days a week, going to the gym at least 4 days a week and stopped one of my addictions cold turkey. This was technically all very healthy for me. I lost nearly 60lbs. in a healthy amount of time by working out and eating lots of protein, fruits, grains and vegetables. I thought that all these were great decisions but they had become an escape for me. I hated my life and being tired and worn out felt good. I was working more hours than I could handle, running in the mornings before work and going straight to the gym after work. Somewhere in that time frame I would sleep 1-4 hours a night. I was trying to survive in my life and didn’t even think about my future. As you can conclude I had good and bad things going on at the same time but the good things became a way to not face my life, and the bad had no changes whatsoever.
I was waking up exhausted each morning, I dreaded every single day! I had no hopes, dreams or future to look forward to. One day I had to have a change. I decided to cut out unhealthy relationships in my life. I ended a relationship I had for years and decided it was time to find who I was and all that I was meant to be. I could not do that in the relationship that I was in, it had become poisonous for the both of us and we were not living anywhere close to our full potential. Death was sounding so much better than life at the time. I had a night where I fell into my temptation of death sounding more peaceful and relaxing than life could ever be for me. I remember calling my Dad at 2 in the morning. He always answers when I call. He and I talked through the night and he stood by in case anything went wrong. It was a horrific night but my Dad stood by me even though he was over 500 miles away. From that day on my Dad and I have turned our distant and somewhat turbulent relationship into a close and understanding one with excellent communication and openness. I am thankful for him everyday of my life!
Just like the quote above, I struggled for years and then after my lowest days of my life, I began to see HOPE! The first sign of hope was that any relationship can be healed and whole. My Dad and I became friends for what felt like the first time in my life. I never imagined that would happen and yet it did in my very darkest of nights.
After my choice to change relationships I thought things would start looking up. To my surprise I was met with many people disappointed and angry with my decisions. I wasn’t hearing any encouragement to get my life in order and become a healthy and happy version of myself, the me I was created to be. Instead I got criticism and people thinking that they knew what was best for me. I quickly became swarmed with other voices that it became difficult to remember what I needed and that I had made a good choice for my future self. Know what you have to do and set your course, do not waiver even if the sea feels like it is against you. There will be unwanted input and discouraging voices all around you. Don’t you listen to them. Make your voice and your needs the loudest! Your heart will always guide you to where you need to be. Listen carefully.
At this point I had good and bad input in my life. I had to again cut out the remaining negative voices in my life. You will quickly find your true friends in moments when you don’t agree and during difficult points in your life. I am happy to say that I have a great few friends!!! Changing the influences in your life isn’t the end point, it’s just the beginning. I got rid of all of my addictions forever and I have not had a single relapse. There were numerous temptations but it took a great deal of strength to beat them. My trick: think of the past and how painful it was to succumb to those vices in my life, then look at the dreams in front of you.
The next step for me was moving. I had lived in the same town for nearly 20 years. I needed a change and a great new adventure to start off my life that had just begun. It was not easy to move, in fact I felt uncomfortable for the first few months. I was in a place that was new to me in a different state. It was healthy for me, I had nothing to fall back on, I had one option and that was to make my life count and it started the second I moved away. I think change helps depression, it helped me loads. I was so busy looking into things that I loved or caught my eye that I really didn’t have the time to feel anything other than pure wonder. What are my passions? What career do I want to pursue? What will make me want to wake up every morning with new enthusiasm?
After I moved I met my husband! He and I dated and realized that we had so many of the same interests and passions. Within a short while I moved again, we were married and living out our dreams. We have shared dreams but we also have our own dreams to chase after. Just because someone gets married means they give up their life and goals. Do everything that is in your heart to do.
I am a VP of our company and I do accounting work. I started just recently working towards becoming a life coach. I have worked with many people on their fitness, relationship goals, addictions and overall health. I have found my purpose. I know that I want to help others. I want anyone that has hit rock bottom to know that they have a future worth living for, they are powerful enough to change their life. I want others to find HOPE!
I have battled addictions, depression, toxic relationships, being overweight (my BMI was just over 29.5 near obesity) overwhelming debt and many health issues due to the stress. I exercise, run, eat healthy, handle money well, work a wonderful job (working for yourself is unimaginably rewarding) continuously work on my healthy and positive relationships, enjoy my marriage and wake up each morning truly feeling excited for each day! I have passions, dreams, goals and hopes because I have a great future staring me right in the face. Happiness does come after depression and difficulties. Your struggles will make your joy so much greater. Know that it will come. Chase your future and don’t rob this world of YOU. There are things that you will have to do to change your life, they will be hard, challenging and you will have people discourage you, stay the course! You can conquer anything that comes your way, your daily battles will one day subside. If nothing else , I want my life to give you HOPE, a fresh perspective that things can and do change. I am living proof that there is HOPE for you as well!!!!!
Two things to remember:
- Keep HOPE alive! There is always someone that has it worse off. You are constantly able to help others, which gives them HOPE. Write down things that do make you happy when you can think of something it helps for the harder days. Reading items that make you recall joy can give you HOPE that a better day is coming.
- Become THANKFUL! There is always something to be thankful for. A roof over your head, your favorite shirt, a pet, someone that tells you they love you, a good cup of coffee in the morning and just the simplest things that brings you joy. Having a heart of thankfulness makes it a little more difficult to stay in dark place it has helped pull my out of my introverted depression.
I know you can get to point where you can find HOPE and something to be THANKFUL for everyday. One step at a time, it isn’t easy at first but it does get better! Life gets better!!!