It’s been a while since I posted. I had to slow down over the last few weeks and honour the process I have been going through. When I created this blog, I promised myself (and the universe), that no matter what, I wanted to be authentic. Which to me means, that I had to be real, always. So even though I am hesitant to hit send with this post, I have decided to take the leap and publish it.
A few weeks ago, I started the process of coming off the anti-depressants that I have been on for the last 2 years. It took many years of darkness, to accept that I needed help in the form of medication, and now that I am on them, I am a little bit scared that coming off them, will send me right back to where I was.
Something I have become acutely aware of during this process, is who I am without depression, having identified with it for so many years. In the past, I haven’t been able to consistently live life to the full, I have isolated myself from the world. Now that the depression is at bay, I am looking at the future, with a brightness of how my life looks and how it can look. And although this is amazing, it’s also quite frightening and overwhelming.
When I went on the medication, I was at the lowest point in my life. I had moved from the apartment I felt safe in (I had lived there for 5 years), I lost my job due to redundancy (I didn’t have any money saved), I had to hustle for a new income source, my relationship was falling apart. Also, I am a single parent, and although I have a shared care arrangement, taking care of my son, was an additional responsibility I was struggling with. The final straw came, when I got the flu and was sick in bed for a week. And then my relationship ended.I felt like I had nowhere to turn. That was it. I don’t want to go into any detail here, but let’s just say, I almost wasn’t around anymore.
Even though, getting to that point was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, I was catapulted into the ‘system’ where I had 24 hour emergency support from a team of psychologists and social workers and my GP supported me while I started the medication. It took all that to wake me up. Ironic hey? In less than a year, I had enrolled into an intensive program, which has taught me how to regulate my emotions, look after myself and live, not just survive. It was a big commitment. Attending group therapy every Monday night, which I have been attending diligently for 18 months. Honestly, all these things added up and literally saved my life.
Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to depression. And suicide rates are increasing, even though it’s in the press a lot more these days. The statistics are high, with more than 7 people dying of suicide every day in Australia. Is that shocking or what? Worldwide, there’s a suicide every 40 seconds. Hello!
Depression is a ‘silent killer’ in that it drains you of any joy and hope that you have. And for anyone who has suffered with depression, you will know, it’s one of the most draining feelings to endure.
People can’t see it, and for the sufferer, talking about it, makes you sound like a Deputy Downer, and who wants to be around that? And sadly, the majority of people, don’t want to hear it, and they certainly don’t know what to do to help.
Things that I have learnt that got me to where I am now and may be of help to you or others:
- Taking medication isn’t a sign of weakness, it might just settle things down enough in your brain, so you are able to seek help and start putting new skills in place.
- If you are suffering, get help, and I mean, proper professional help. Relying solely on your friends and family isn’t enough to help you. It’s also unfair to expect others to know the right thing to say, to be there for you in the right way. Of course, support from friends and family is essential, however, well-meaning people, can make you feel worse by their words or dismissive attitude. This is why seeing a therapist is a lot more beneficial in the long run.
- Medication AND therapy is the only way forward. Just taking the medication, will only help so much. You need to learn new ways of dealing with life, with the help of a therapist.
- Going down the medication path isn’t plain sailing. There are a lot of side-effects to contend with, but what’s the alternative?
- Don’t be afraid to say, you’re not ok.
- No matter how dark your world is right now, it will pass, it will get better, even though, at times, it feels endless and there’s no time frame as to when it will get better, hold onto that belief, that it will pass, sometime.
I am happy to say that with a lot of perseverance, love, patience and support from my partner, family, friends, my therapists, and MOST importantly from myself, I feel ready to live my life to the full, medication free. And I know that if there are dark days, because there will be, I will get through it.
If you know of anyone else that’s suffering, share this post, it might help someone. If you are suffering, seek help, be relentless, and don’t give up.
Love and light