Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Miracles of My Depression




It's true that labeling something is often the first step to a healing journey. 

It's true that naming something is recognizing its reality, hence pulling it out of the shadows and allowing the light to weaken its hold on us.  

That's what happened to me when I wrote last month that I could be suffering from depression. At the time, I still could not fully own it, though I was candid about the dark thoughts that plagued me. Anyone who is familiar with depression, or who was even just slightly keen enough while reading my words would have undoubtedly concluded that I was suffering from the condition, albeit moderately.

Depression is not easy to admit and I'm very careful throwing my self-diagnosis around. But I have read enough of it, know my own self and predispositions (genetic or otherwise), that I can be certain of its presence in my life. 

It shows up differently to different people, leaving its unique brush strokes as it imposes itself while we write the story of our lives. I count myself among those who are fortunate enough to still be able to control this presence, to still be its master on most days and not the other way around. I know it has significantly strengthened in the past two years and I'm not sure if I could even pinpoint a specific trigger. 

What I do know is that I began to question my worth more and more as I heard of other moms finding work outside the home. Or maybe someone close to me said something that, though not pertaining to me, might have hurt because it had to do with not being able to earn money on my own. Suddenly, I started to question my sense of purpose as a mother and learned to belittle my devotion on a daily basis. The sense of uselessness and hopelessness, all the self-loathing, would become unbearable on some days and I knew I was drowning. I became an expert at putting up a facade of contentment and stability. It wasn't out of a desire to deceive but more of a fear of inconveniencing others. I didn't know how people close to me would take it. I didn't know if they were capable of accepting my truth. I didn't want any of them to worry about me, treat me differently, or change anything about themselves just to accommodate my issues. 

But it's true when they say that it's 'only at the precipice do we evolve' (The Day The Earth Stood Still, 2008). And it's also very true that it's only when we open ourselves upwhen we allow ourselves to be vulnerablethat we are able to receive love and recognize its abundance around us. 

My writing and coming out was no doubt a cry for help. And I am forever grateful to the special souls who stepped up to hold me either physically or virtually, whether through your words of support or thoughtful actions. I know it was the Universe's way of clearly telling me that I am not alone and that healing is possible. 

Writer and blogger friends offered their advice. People I've never met before gave me words of inspiration. Friends living abroad sent me messages just to let me know they are there for me. One old friend reminded me of a simple fact that truly jolted me into my senses: that a person's worth is NEVER measured by the money they make. I've always known this about other people, so why can't I apply the same to myself? When did I stop being kind to myself?

The afternoon after I published my 'coming out' piece last month, a sweet neighbor friend walked over to my house and gave me a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers and gave me a hug to make me feel better.  Words weren't necessary. I felt her love and support and I hope she will always know how she inspired me to choose to heal. 

I guess what I'm saying is this: Miracles are there. Kindness is around us. Help and guidance are available, whether physical or spiritual. 

After surrendering to the reality of my misery and praying for help, insights started coming to me. A particular one that truly made me want to find healing for myself came in the form of a question: 

If I knew I were dying tomorrow, how would I feel knowing that I wasted years of my life feeling useless, convincing myself that I'm useless?

The more I tried to think of the question and the answer, the more certain I was that the critical voice in my head is not necessarily right. Neither is this voice ME. 

My desire to recover, to stay afloat and breathe more steadily rather than just occasionally pop to the surface and gasp for air, led me to learn more about the practice of mindfulness. 

I know my troubles are around me. Mindfulness will not make them magically go away. But if I keep practicing it, I will learn more how it is to be present in the moment; to learn to distance myself from the voices in my head so they do not dominate my reality; to learn to find my centerbreath by breathknowing that this too shall pass.

I'm not fully healed. If there's one thing I'm realizing about depression, it's a chronic condition much like addiction, heart disease, or diabetes. One is never fully cured, you simply learn to manage the condition. It's a journey with both good and bad days, and you take it one step at a time.

Today I feel strong. Today is a good day, thank you for asking. 

























4 comments:

  1. This is marvelous! Sharing with my girls...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and happy that you found it marvelous, Diane. I hope others would find it useful as well and would help one in need. I appreciate you. xoxo

      Delete

Let me know your thoughts!