As the darkness started overshadowing the light.. I knew it was time to admit there was something wrong… something very very wrong. Kim Larocque
5 years ago, I fell to my knees.. I was in the shower getting ready for work and for a moment everything stopped .. I couldn’t hold on any longer.. I dropped to my knees in fear, frantically screaming at my partner for help. As he picked me up from the tub, I hadn’t the slightest idea this moment was to begin a long rollercoaster ride to back to myself..
… and I’m still riding.
I am writing this post today because I think the world needs a crash course in depression. According the the Canadian Mental Health association, 1 in 4 Canadians and Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. Mine happens to be a mixture of co-morbidity: Depression, Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic. Those who have never experienced depression, cannot understand the challenges our minds and bodies experience. Not all people share the same symptoms of depression, and to the eyes of some, a depressed person can be judged as lazy, needy, unmotivated and cowardly. This is not truth. The truth is, depression is an illness and there are several symptoms attached to it.
My early symptoms of depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty doing ordinary things like: showering, getting out the door to do groceries, reading, focusing, even doing the dishes can be a HUGE mountain to me.
- Anxiety and panic (borderline agoraphobic)
- Ruminating and worrying (a gazillion things go through my mind)
- Crying, hyperventilating
- Not recognizing myself in the mirror (self-image)
According to Deborah Grey, in her article, Top 10 Depression Myths Debunked, she states: “For all the misconceptions about clinical depression, it seems that there’s a depression myth for every truth — and this makes it difficult to get a real sense of the illness and its capacity to be treated.
Perhaps part of the problem stems from our vocabulary for moods and mental illness: We use “depression” to describe so many ranges of experience that the meaning of clinical depression can get lost in the mix. Furthermore, because simple bad moods are a universal experience, many people think if they’ve had the blues, they know all about depression.”
Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
I often find myself self-judging. Old tapes run through my mind telling me I am lazy (for not working) I am slow, and if I could just “snap out of it” all will be well. However, depression doesn’t work that way. When I read EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, a early into my diagnosis, I found myself relating to the author’s experiences. I felt accompanied by someone who finally understood the dim dark sky hovering over me:
“When you are lost in the woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered a few feet off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore…. “
“I took on my depression like it was the fight of my life, which, of course, it was. I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes… …What a large number of factors constitute a single human being! How very many layers we operate on, and how very many influences we receive from our minds, our bodies, our histories, our families, our cities, our souls and our lunches!! I came to feel that my depression was probably some ever shifting assortment of all those factors, and probably also included some stuff I couldn’t name or claim. So I faced the fight at every level.
What a read below finally convinced my anti-medication mind to at least try it:
“The last thing I tried, after about two years of fighting this sorrow, was medication. If I may impose my opinions here, I think it should always be the last thing you try..” she continues “Those drugs were part of my bridge to the other side, there’s no question about it, but I wanted to be off them as soon as possible.”
The part can never be well unless the whole is well. ~Plato
I could excerpt more, because I totally identify with this whole discussion on depression in this book! I felt as if I was her. The truth is, this part of the book, confirmed I did the right thing by starting on the meds. I want to Attraversiamo (Lets cross over) to the other side of the bridge!
So as much as I would like to say to my friends and family: Please be patient with me… What I really need is to be patient with myself. I need to give myself as much love, compassion and gentleness at this time.. because frankly, depression sucks. I wish it would just disappear, and I can continue to move forward better, stronger and faster. Yet, it is not the will of God right now. My choices may have led me to here (but I know there are medical factors involved too) and I must make myself no 1 right now. Moving forward, always, today getting out the door to go shopping is moving forward.. cooking dinner = moving forward, taking a bath = moving forward, writing a blog post = moving forward. This is NOW! My now.
Thus I am