For as far back as I can remember, I’ve felt depressed but until I was sixteen I didn’t know it had a name. I thought it was just life.
Major depression fell hard and fast.
I self-injured on a daily basis, pushed all of my friends away, and was hospitalized again and again. At eighteen one of my closest friends committed suicide after spending the day with me. Life was a living hell. I stayed behind a year at school and watched what acquaintances I had left go off into their dream schools and dream lives. I decided I was far too broken to ever succeed and upon graduating high school I went into my bedroom and shut the door. For the next five years or so I would only leave the house to go to therapy or a quick coffee with my family.
Between the ages of 16 and 25 I was hospitalized too many times to count. I tried to kill myself many times, received many stitches, I starved myself and tried to hate myself out of being depressed. I felt like I had no reason to be depressed, I just had a lack of willpower. I just couldn’t handle life.
Eventually something in me shifted and in one last effort to save my life I started trying different therapies. I did art therapy, horticultural therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy. I began to realize that I wasn’t depressed because of lack of willpower. That I had a treatable illness.
A year later I did a post-traumatic stress disorder program. It helped me feel safe enough to stop self-destructing and once I learned how to sit and tolerate my feelings something major from my past floated up to the surface of my mind. Memories of being terribly abused as a child. Those memories are one of the last essential puzzle pieces of my recovery.
I’m still in therapy now and am medication, but finally my life is improving. I do a lot of art and a lot of writing and I find joy in my many pets. Working with mindyourmind.ca has given me direction and hope for a better mental health system, and a world of less stigma associated with mental illness.
I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. For every person that regains their life back from depression, there are ten in the background that never do.
After years of telling myself to shut up, I am learning to get my voice back. I want to tell you what it’s like to be too depressed to move and give you tips for when you feel that way.
I want to help fill in the gaps in our broken mental health system. Maybe I can share with you what took me too long to learn. Maybe you will make the same mistakes as me or maybe you won’t.
Fighting depression is a constant battle but there IS hope. That fact that I am here today writing this proves that there is another side to the darkness. Even if you can’t see it now. I’m not out of the woods yet but I’m really getting there. Read along, learn from my experiences, share yours with me and together we can make it through.