I am currently experiencing my symptoms of depression, in what is my first big relapse:
- I am sleeping really badly
- I lie in bed at night feeling upset
- I am increasingly struggling to get out of bed
- I am getting closer to bunking off work for feeling that I cannot cope
- I feel upset, then guilty, then that I’m a horrible person, then I cry. THEN…
- I feel overwhelmed by all the self-defeating thought processes I have. THEN…
- I feel I have SO much about myself to change. THEN…
- I cannot see that I have done anything good. THEN…
- I remember upsetting memories from my past, and feel angry at those who have made it so hard for me to function normally. THEN…
- I am ashamed and want to keep it all a secret
The overwhelmed part is because through conversations with close friends and my own observations, I have had my eyes opened (which is ALWAYS a positive thing) to all the different ways in which my debilitating fear of things going wrong stops me from living:
- I am censoring myself creatively – I’m scared of failing
- I am unhealthily closed off from my friendships – I’m scared of losing my self-reflection time
- I am terrified I will ruin my relationship – by being terrified he will meet someone better
- I am despondent about my career – every job option seems flawed, every dream seems impossible. So I don’t do anything, except bitch that I am not doing anything.
But here’s the difference, here’s why I have more hope of recovery this time around.
I know the symptoms now, and I am taking the steps to heal them.
It is different for everybody but here is what is working for me:
- I am re-reading a brilliant book on how to survive depression and see it as a positive, life-changing journey. It is called ‘Unstuck’ by James S Gordon
- I am taking deep breaths whenever I feel panic rising or tears welling up
- I am finding the courage to be open with my boyfriend
- I am asking for support from my best friend Ladyface E
- I am enquiring into affordable Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). If I can’t, I will contact the counsellor at my GP
- I am stepping up the self-compassion and working harder to censor my Unkind Brain
- I am changing my perception of depression and trying to approach the challenges I describe above as Big Steps Forward
- I am congratulating myself when I keep calm
- I am congratulating myself for my strength
- I am writing this blog.
I hope this shows that if you have depression, whether for the first, the second, or tenth time, you are not alone and you always have the strength deep within you to come out the other side. And you WILL emerge with more rewards, more self-compassion, more determination and more wisdom, than you ever thought possible.