I used to deal with depression for at least half of every year.
Sometimes it was situational.
Much of the time, it was just there, swimming quietly through my being as I tried to hide it from everyone outside the four walls of my home.
One day, when I had just finished some random task I was doing in the bathroom, without instruction from me, my body crumbled to the floor in an empty fog. I had been walking around blankly with depression for weeks. Then, in a moment, it took over and I could no longer function. I sat there on the gray rug, staring at nothing. Thinking about nothing. I had completely shut down.
I don’t know if any of my boys were home. Maybe they were upstairs occupying themselves with video games as usual. But my 4-year-old daughter was nearby.
I sat there for who-knows-how-long. Eventually my daughter needed me.
She paused for a response then tried again.
I heard her, but I couldn’t move.
I used to compare the onset of another cycle of depression to slowly walking into a lake.
First, I stand at the shore. The still heavy water welcoming me with its tranquility of nothingness. As days would pass, I would wade further in. I knew if I went far enough in, I could drown myself, fully immersed in the water that would gently suffocate me while numbing the pains of life.
On this day, on the bathroom rug, I felt immersed in the water to the point that it muted the voices of life around me.
I have no idea how much time passed while she tried to snap me out of it. It felt like hours.
Something she said finally engaged my mind. I was able to imagine the fear of a sweet little girl whose mother was sitting limp, staring, and non-verbal. At this thought, I mustered the energy to respond, just for her.
That day pushed me to get help.
Over the next couple years, an amazing mentor guided out of hopelessness. She supported me as I actively chose to NOT enter that lake ever again.
I noticed, for me, depression was a choice. I used my depression as a numbing escape from pain that I did not know how to manage.
Even after getting some control of it, cycles of depression still came. Each time I reached out for help as I chose to face it and manage it.
It was still hard, but each time I faced it, I was learning the incredible power of choosing and managing my thoughts.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I teach that our emotions are a result of our thoughts. That means the painful emotions that I was trying to escape were my own creation. I courageously decided to own this.
I was the one making me depressed! How magnificent is that?!?!
If I am the one that creates my pain and depression, that means it is fully in my control to get better! And get better I did.
I have been depression-free for almost two years!
Today, I question it all again. I have been experiencing depression-like feelings for a few days. I wondered if my run was over.
I see the lake in front of me today. It is tempting me to come closer, to put my toes in the water. But… I’m not going to do it. I don’t need to!
Instead, I am going to feel my feelings without labeling it depression. I am noticing I feel some shame for not meeting my own expectations as a mom. I notice I am feeling grief as I miss my Dad and sister this holiday season. I notice I am feeling exhaustion after having two back-to-back cold viruses.
Instead, of heading toward the lake, I am taking a look at my thoughts. My thoughts are weighing me down. And that’s okay. That happens sometimes.
I can do uncomfortable feelings today. Uncomfortable and sometimes painful feelings are normal. I’m human.
Guess what? Humans feel pain and joy. It’s a 50/50 life. Good and bad. Nobody escapes it.
And, I’m not in a hurry to feel better today. I will give myself some time to feel some sadness, without trying to resist it. I can feel it and when I allow it to come and feel it on purpose, I can let it pass.
This is a skill I learned well in my training as a life coach. Today I help my clients handle their emotions in this same way.
While this post alone will not alleviate your depression, I hope it will shed some light and share some hope.
Depression does not incapacitate me anymore and that possibility is there for you too.
Healing is possible. Happy is possible. Hope is possible.
If this brought anything up and you would like to talk with me, please set up a consultation with me. Here is a link to my calendar: CONSULTATION
If you want to know more about processing feelings, check out this article: Know What You Are Feeling
(This is not a prescriptive mental health article on depression. Everything I shared is only an account of my personal experience. If you are suffering from depression, you may want to seek help from a medical or mental health professional.)