I hand wrote most of this in a notebook earlier today. I urgently knew the words needed to get out. Then when I finished writing my enthusiasm wavered and I moved on to other to-dos. Stashing the notebook away in my closet. Likely to end up in my paper shredding pile on another day. Not sharing with anyone else felt safer.
There are a few people that know most of this story. There are several others I’ve recently started sharing more with. In bits and pieces. Mostly though, I cringe to even think about discussing the ‘D’ word of my past. Even though for two decades it danced with my emotions. And for an entire decade it was embedded with each inhale breath I took. And not going out with the exhale. It was suffocating me.
I feel my body tense up each time I have ever spoken out loud, “I’ve had depression.” Even when I discuss this with the closest of friends, I consider they will not fully understand my experience. I wonder what they think about my stories. Will they begin to see me as a weak person?
I don’t like to talk about depression with anyone or give it extra attention. I feel like the label grows the more the word is used. Thinking maybe if I don’t speak of it then it wasn’t real. It cannot return. If I just focus on happy things then never again will that sweeping darkness show back up.
That was always my wish during any period of time when I started to believe things were going well. Trying to enjoy the positive happenings. Laughing if I didn’t shower ‘just because’ and not for the lack of interest in self-care. If I didn’t say I had depression, then I could continue to get out of bed. I could leave my room. Not hide in my closet. I could get my son to school. I could show up at my job. I could survive a morning without public tears. I wouldn’t unwillingly surrender in another doctor’s office. Or begin another prescription with unfavorable side effects because I didn’t know what else would help me continue to exist. Or trying to decide which friend would be least bothered by my latest breakdown when I knew I needed to reach out.
Who the fuck wants to feel needy and vulnerable? To ask for help when it requires revealing your truth? I didn’t. But I didn’t know how to get out. Or where to reach out. I only wanted to hide. Everything that was dark inside me was keeping me comfortable in the darkness. I needed light. I wanted all the sick places inside me to be ripped out. I wanted to scream “this isn’t me.” I’m not that word.
D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N. Deep oppression is what it felt like. And I am grateful that is no longer an influential part of my everyday life anymore. I learned that there were processes going on in my body that needed balance that wasn’t being fully corrected by any one specific medication. My body was nutritionally deficient in certain areas. I needed more healthy fats in my diet. I found that fish & flax oils, high doses of quality vitamin C and a good B-complex were essential in my daily routine. I benefited from various simple detoxes to clean up my organ and digestive functions. I learned that sugar and alcohol were never good roommates, and we were better as long distance friends. I also sought out emotional clearing work that helped me release negative energies and patterns that were stuck in my body. I made stress reduction a priority. Salt soaks, yoga, & walks outside are now a regular part of my routine.
There are still moments of yuck that creep in on occasion. Triggering fears of a potential return to that dark place. I have sunk back into lows after feeling good for a while. Each time though I’m a little more prepared. I have a better understanding of what is going on with my body. The stresses or imbalances might be triggering the latest emotional uncertainty. It’s enough in my past that when I wrote about this experience earlier I did not know I was going to be pulled so strongly into getting this out to others. I don’t like to discuss the ‘D’ word of my past, but I have noticed several brave people over the last week sharing about their experience. I get that others benefit from this identifier because it provides a unified place to speak about emotional struggle. That is why I could not leave my ramblings in a notebook. I needed to share my healing from depression.
I know someone else may need that same return to peace. But haven’t figured out another word to use and still support others who need to reach out. Is there another word? Is there another way for those who are in that sinking darkness can heal? I believe if we continue connecting then maybe it won’t matter that there was once a label. That the next day’s light is happiness. Please reach out. Even if you cannot speak your story, there is someone who cares. Connect.
To reach Jenny : firstname.lastname@example.org
Reality Wellness Specialist