I remember it clearly sometimes. The emptiness, numbness and feeling as though life was an endless cycle of sleepless nights. I remember not being able to get out of bed in the morning as if there was a large brick wall pinning me down deeper into my mattress. The revolving questions that seemed to get more tangled in my mind the more I thought about them. How did I get here? Why isn’t anyone here for me? What if this is all my life will ever be? I felt so alone and without realizing it at the time, I stopped going out with my friends and family. The nights got harder and the days got longer the more time I spent in the isolation I had taken part in creating.
You must be wondering what lead me to depression.
Well, I had recently become unemployed after a good six months of being very overwhelmed with stress in many areas of my life. The stress then developed into depression which triggered so many pre-existing deep rooted fears. I believed that I was weak, that I would always be alone and that I was a failure. Too many months had gone by and I remember one day contemplating if I had anything left to give. That’s when I realised I had probably swam in my self pity for far too long.
Here’s what happened next.
I decided to write those unanswered questions down on paper and see if I could answer them one by one. (Spoiler: I couldn't do it on my own.)
Question 1) How did I get here?
I had to face the facts that I had bad feelings associated with my experiences. I “handled” those experiences by shutting down because it all seemed to big and scary to face. See the problem is that when we shut down emotionally we shut down the bad feelings and the good ones too. In order to feel again we have to be brave and deal with the bad feelings so that we can begin to have good ones again. The best part about good feelings, is that your body releases “Happy Hormones” like endorphins. These hormones actually communicate to your brain and nervous system to reduce your perception of pain. In order to deal with my feelings, I did speak to a professional and sought help from those closest to me which leads us to the next question.
Question 2) Why isn’t anyone here for me?
What I learned from my experience is that because I felt ashamed and embarrassed about being depressed I isolated myself. This is normal but let me be the one to encourage you that you don’t have to feel that way. Mental health is serious and just like when we get a cold we need to go to a doctor or see our mom for her special remedy soup. The same goes for dealing with depression. My advice is to find people who are positive influences and spend time with them. Also, don’t feel you have to share with everybody you know. Instead pick a person or two that you can trust and someone you can be completely honest with (not someone you feel you have to preform or act happy around). Lastly, do not be afraid to seek professional support because they can help you make sense of what you’ve been through.
Question 3) What if this is all my life will ever be?
Although my reality seemed really hopeless, a close friend suggested for me to take a moment and look at it from a different perspective. So, I asked myself, “What if this isn’t all my life will ever be? What if I am missing out on other opportunities that could help me enjoy life again?” Fortunately, the solution to this is in your hands. YOU have the choice, just as I did, to choose to engage in life again.