Depression – my life through and after
Some people would think ” well, quite pretentious to write about depression and explain it to others”, others would say ” I experienced exactly the same”. First, I would like to say that I am not a doctor, I am not a scientist, I am not a psychotherapist, I am not a psychologist. I am a person who did suffer from depression more than once but hope the last time will remain my last time. I decided to write and share my experience of depression inspired by the book of Matt Haig ”Reasons to stay alive”. The book is about his own experience of depression, a severe depressive state with many side effects that kept him staying at home and closing himself to the rest of the world. In his book, Matt Haig explains in simple words exactly how he felt during his dark period and in some pages I recognized myself. From that perspective, I highly recommend the book to everyone who feels anxious and depressive and needs to be reassured that other people have already been there.
So what happened to me and how did Depression make her appearance to me?
Absolutely unexpectedly. From one day to another I started feeling anxious, sad and started crying without stopping and without having any idea for what reason. I felt a heavy weight in my chest that was making me suffocating. I thought I will die as the weight felt sooo heavy. It became impossible to go to work as I was crying all day long without feeling better. I was working as a French teacher at that moment and had evening classes and when the class just began I started crying. I felt so ashamed! Fortunately, my students did not ask questions and just offered to bring me home. That remained between us. The next day I went to work and was crying all day long. Again! I had a private lesson planned that day in the evening with one of my students who had to catch up with the group. She came in and saw me sad. She asked if I was doing OK and if she can help me somehow. I explained how I was feeling and tried to describe all the sadness and apathy in my heart and soul. She told me that she did a psychotherapy a while ago working with a fantastic specialist who helped her a great deal and she thought that maybe the same person could help me as well. I thought why not actually as not many options were available at that moment. I went back home and called my future psychotherapist. I had an appointment the next day. I went to see her and was feeling even worst. She started asking questions and I started answering and crying, crying, crying. It was sooo painful. It’s not easy to admit that you need help and that you are not doing well mentally. That was blocking me from evacuating all the sadness I was keeping in me. But surprisingly when the session has finished and I was walking down the street to go for a coffee with the same student who recommended me to visit the psychotherapist I stopped crying and started to pay attention to everything surrounding me that day – it was a sunny, winter day and I was walking in the city center of Varna. It was a beautiful day and for the first time in many weeks, I was thinking about something else rather than my sadness and anxiety. I bought a book to read and had a great time with my student drinking delicious coffee. I started to go to psychotherapeutic sessions every week and felt way better. I did not take any medication as I wanted to solve my problem myself (or with the help of a specialist). I went on a therapy for a few months and my life started to change. After I stopped the therapy my life completely changed: I went to a three-weeks training in Canada, I bought an apartment, I moved to the Netherlands, I got married, I learned English. I learned how to enjoy life every second and how to make the best of my experiences, moments with family and friends, my free time. Now when I think about this period of my life I am grateful it happened and opened my eyes to the beauty of the world and gave me the courage to change my life. Now I see life from a different perspective. Also, I recognize depression very fast and know how to deal with.
The reasons why that has happened to me?
- Predisposition: since I was a child I was anxious about everything. I had a few mini-depressions before but never thought seriously about it.
- Perfectionism: perfectionism is a bitch who can sabotage everybody and fuck up everything. If you aspire to be the best all the time and do perfectly your job/ studies, well be prepared to suffer at the first failure. That what happened to me. I had some difficult time at work and that made me feel weak and a complete failure.
- Difficulties to deal with failure: if you always want to win, be prepared to fail the hard and painful way.
What I learned from my depressive period so far?
1. Depression can happen to anyone no matter the gender, the self-esteem, the strength of character or the amount of success one possesses.
2. Depression is the way to internal and external transformation. I truly believe in that and I am 100% convinced that depression visits us to show us and to teach us that we have to change our lives for the best.
3. Medication just does not work. Going to visit at least two or three times a psychotherapist, on the other hand, can sort you out. But, big but here!!!! You have to find the best therapist for yourself. This is not easy, but don’t give up. It’s worth it.
4. Sport can really help: jogging, group lessons, yoga, meditation (hard in the beginning) can help.
5. Talking only to your relatives and friends do not work – they are compassionate about you and trying hard to understand you. Refer to p.3 visit a psychotherapist!
6. Escapes in nature help. It’s always a good idea to connect with nature. Hiking, visiting a National park or just going for a walk in the nearby park can help. Spending time in nature helps to connect/ re-connect to your intuition and to clearly hear what your inner-self has to tell you. That’s what can bring you to the right path (sounds philosophical, doesn’t it?
7. If you share with your friends and close acquaintances that you visited a therapist, you would be surprised how many of them did it too at some point in their lives. You would realize then how many people suffer from depression, anxiety, and depressive states. That means you are not alone and you are one of them.
8. Time heals everything! Depression passes and it will end one day. You will feel it, you will recognize it’s ending.
What has opened Pandora’s box?
Why did depression happen to me? It was a combination of perfectionism, burn-out, problems at work and desire to change but the impossibility to take action. Weird combination!!!
The best thing out of it is that I started to try new things – yoga, swimming, going out more, learning more, being more!
That was my concise story about my own depression. Hope it will and can help other people to make the first step to their own transformation!
Thanks for reading!