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How I Fought for Myself When My Depression Was at Its Worst

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When I’m in a depressive episode, like a true, can’t-see-through-the-fog episode, it is hard to fight for myself, even when that’s the time I need to fight the most. And what do I mean by fighting? Fighting for health care. Fighting for stability. Fighting for friendships. Fighting for family. Fighting for life.

During the worst depressive episode of my life, I thought I would never come out of it. Nothing mattered; not my job, my friends, my family and certainly not myself. I went through a dark period of self-destructive behavior because I just didn’t care. And because I didn’t talk about it, no one really knew how sick I actually was. Emptiness by definition means the state of containing nothing. So by definition, I should have felt nothing. But to me, feeling nothing is feeling something. I felt scared. I felt lonely. Mostly, I felt tired. Tired of trying. Tired of putting a fake smile on my face and acting like life was OK for me.

I spent many nights crying myself to sleep, laying in the fetal position on my bed in the dark. I would stand in front of the mirror and watch myself cry until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I was taking medication, but it obviously wasn’t working. After two months of this, I hit very scary crossroads: continue on or call it quits. Never in my life had I even thought about suicide, so when I started thinking about it, it scared the shit out of me. It was one of those Oprah “A-ha!” moments where I had this sudden recognition of what I had to do: I had to fight.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I woke up the next morning and felt better. I had to really contemplate the steps I needed to take to just start coming out of the fog. And when you’re depressed, this is extremely difficult to manage.

I needed to go to therapy. I hate therapy. I know that’s not the right thing to say, but I absolutely loathe it. I’d gone through various forms of therapy for years. I would typically get to around the fourth session, right when things started heating up, and quit. But this time, I knew I couldn’t. I knew if I didn’t stick with it, I would die. So, I started seeing someone twice a week. After years of therapist-hunting, I know what meshes with me and what doesn’t, so I knew this therapist was different. She didn’t lecture me, she didn’t tell me what to do and most importantly, she didn’t judge me. During my time with her, I fought and I fought hard. I continued to push myself. I ended up seeing her for two and a half years. She saved my life.

I also found a new doctor. I started a new prescription regimen and that coupled with the therapy eventually helped pull me out of the fog.

At the end of the day, it’s my body, my mind and my life. I’ve come to terms with the fact depression is a part of who I am. It certainly doesn’t define me, but it is a part of me and it’s something I must continually address to stay alive. Because I choose to fight.

Unsplash image by Riccardo Mion

Originally published: January 23, 2020
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