I’m breaking my silence about my demon so that I can hopefully loosen its grip on my life.
I have depression.
There, I said it. Gulp! (Long pause, while I consider if this is a good idea or not…)
My head is spinning with so much stuff that I just want to pretend we’re sitting together on my couch and you’re letting me vent unrelentingly. Can we pretend that for a minute?
Here’s the skinny. I’ve had depression since I was about 12. I didn’t know it until I was in my early 20’s, but my bouts of isolation, deep sadness and suicidal thoughts weren’t normal. I had this weird belief that it was God’s way of punishing me for being ‘bad’ somehow, and so I accepted it. In my early recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism (going on 24 years now), one of my sponsors suggested that I might have ‘depression’ and should see a doctor. I actually thought she was wrong at the time, but doctor I saw agreed with her. I started on a medication and things improved. I wish I could say “And I lived happily ever after”, but that’s not how the story goes. I won’t go into long, drawn out details since we aren’t really on my couch and it’s not a very good story anyhow.
Bottom line: I’ve had good years and bad. In the bad times, I can’t remember ever feeling good. In the good times, I can’t imagine how I ever got depressed.
When I’m in a bout of depression l can’t think straight and I feel like I’m “broken” somehow. I constantly feel ashamed for having this ugly “weakness”. I tell myself that I should be stronger and just shake it off, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t. I’m afraid having depression will be used against me. I think that you must see me how I see myself and that ain’t good! There’s no way in hell I’m lovable. I isolate and berate myself. Obviously, it’s not a pretty scene in my head during these times. Logically (one of my guiding words for 2012,) I know the above thinking is crap, but in the throes of my depression, you can’t convince me of that.
I chose ‘exercise’ in the first month of my 12 in 12 game and so far, I have 11 successful days under my belt! This choice had more to do with treating my depression than losing weight or gaining fitness. I’m trying to accept this as an illness and self-treat by disciplining my mind, eating better and exercising. I’m also starting to take vitamin D and Omega 3. I’m scared of the side effects and expense of the various antidepressant medications, but I might just need to go that route again as well. The biggest driving force is my daughter and my desire to be her best mother. I’m missing out on a living a fulfilling life and that’s just not acceptable to me today.
So, there. I’ve said it. I have depression. I’ve been sick with it for a while now, and I would really like to be well again.
I want to reach new heights this year and I realize I can’t do it with this “secret” weighing me down. I got sober by asking for support and sharing my experiences openly. That’s the one “treatment” I haven’t tried for depression because of my shame around it. It’s time to try it out.