I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much I’ve changed and grown over the last couple of years. Curiosity struck when I was trying to remember what triggered the change. What was going on then that’s different now? Why am I getting better now?
Despite the mystery of what clicked in my brain, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m finally moving forward, finally feeling like I have a future.
What continues to keep me going is college. Going back was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You’d think that with dealing with depression that all the work and stress from the work will be overwhelming for me, but it wasn’t. Keeping busy, I’ve learned, is one of the great remedies for depression. It keeps the mind focusing on other things, blocking out all the darkness that consumes you.
It hasn’t been always easy, though. There’s conflicting measures, a sort of catch-22 with depression. You know what you need and should do to feel better, but those same things are hard to do. You lose interest in the very things that makes you happy. Every ounce of your body and soul hurts, literally and figuratively. But you know that if you get up and get some sun or be around people you love and who love you, your mood will elevate. Still, there’s the constant struggle of those lingering thoughts, those negative exhausting thoughts, that take a toll on your mind and body. Physically and mentally you’re so worn out that the exhaustion is exhausted and it starts to become a lifestyle; it’s your new “normal.”
You start to think that there’s no hope. That this is the new me and nothing will change that.
It’s taken over. I don’t have control.
That’s not and will never be true. It’s possible to get better. Although college helped me, it’s not the path for everyone. For me, having that responsibility didn’t make things worse, it made things better—waking up early every day, being around people even though I never was sociable before the depression, being productive—those things kick-started my healing process because those were the very things I was lacking.
I’ve replaced some of my bad habits with good ones.
Everyone deals with things differently. What worked for me may not work for you but that doesn’t mean there’s no solution because there is, there’s always a solution. I didn’t have support but if you have people who love you, seek them, be around them, let them help in whatever way they can. Be appreciative that you have people with good intentions who only want to help. And if you don’t have support, there’s plenty of ways to find it, like group therapy or even doing things like taking kick boxing or yoga and meditation class. Being active is great for those serotonin levels.
(Meditation has been proven to help with depression and anxiety.)
I know you might think, “How do I get up and do these things when I’m tired and afraid all the time?”
It starts with you. You’re stronger than you think. Find that strength, it’s in there.
I’d like to leave some permanent footprints in this world. I’d like to help and support people who have felt the way I have. I want to give the support and love I didn’t receive to others. Even if it’s just a handful, knowing that I made a contribution, as small as it may be, will make all the difference in the world.