I was going to call this post 'Back to Normal'. But what is normal? For a while my normal was feeling depressed and all the baggage that came with that, so I've just gone with 'I'm back!' Back from that nasty place from which I don't ever want to return. Also in terms of our emotional constant, our normal is forever changing. My normal from ten years ago (the last time I could be sure I wasn't suffering from depression) is different today. So I'll simply say I'm Back! Back experiencing positive emotions, back feeling useful and productive.
But the question remains how did I get here? In my post titled "Not so Silent, Not so Deadly", I commented on how I had made baby steps to solve my problem. But they weren't really baby steps as much as one big step. And that was creating a foundation for myself to tackle my depression. I had talked to my doctors and was receiving professional help. I was on anti-depressants which although weren't the answer, stopped me from reaching the punishing lows I had once experienced, and I had made mistakes which allowed me to see which direction not to go in.
So, where to from here? I realised that I still needed help, so it was back to the GP. This time he referred me to a different psychologist, but I realised that I had to make the change. I had to be completely honest with my new psychologist, and not leave anything out. That was a really tough thing to do. I have always found it hard to open up to even the people closest to me, let alone a complete stranger, so I kicked off my first consult by letting her know this little conundrum I faced. As insignificant as that seems, I had started to let my guard down, which lead to open honesty and a path to correcting my problem.
That first consult also marked a huge point in my treatment. We talked about how I felt about all my medical problems. I felt ripped off, like I'd been robbed, and inside I was upset and angry. I had never shared this with anyone because I didn't want to be branded a whinger, or burden my problems with people who clearly would prioritise their own issues and would not want to hear mine.
So there I was, laying it all out on the table. For me it was not the talking about it that really helped. It was the unexpected response I got. I was expecting a response like "Suck it up! Its the lot you were given you just have to deal with it." Or, "It's not so bad, think about all the people in the world worse off than you."
Instead, what I got was complete validation of how I felt. Total and unconditional validation. For the first time I felt justified in the way I felt and all of a sudden it didn't feel so bad anymore. Instead I felt strangely calm. The relief was the first real positive emotion I had felt in a long time. It proved to me that I could get back. I felt like I did not just have to fight the fight, but I wanted to. What is more, I wanted to win.
Next time, I will talk about the battles I had to fight and how it all unravelled. It was still a long road, but personally, a rich and fulfilling journey. Until then, stay well:)
If you think you may be suffering from depression, go and see your GP. They will be able to assess you and point you in the right direction to get help. If you don't feel ready to see someone yet, type "depression help" into google and that will give you a list of resources you can use for help. In Australia, Beyond Blue is a great place to start. There website is:-