That translates into over 83,000 words about my journey with depression.
And the journey is just getting started. Journaling has been one of my self-care activities.
Writing about what I am feeling and thinking has been a way for me to work through my depression and “get in touch with my feelings.” This is still very new to me and requires me paying attention.
I am still hesitant to use the words self-care. I like saying taking care of myself . Saying self-care sounds so clinical. But whatever you call it, I am committed to doing it.
My goal is to be the best I can be despite my depression.
I have said many times that it took me 43 years to finally understand what I had. It took me 43 years to face it, to admit it to myself, and to say, “enough is enough.”
But had I figured a way out of my depression this last time, I would have concealed it once again. I would not be writing this, and I would be setting myself up for the next cycle of depression, with the abyss getting deeper with each trip down. And like every other time I concealed the depression, even from myself, I will end up against the wall.
So writing is helping me stay on top of my depression.
Journaling (blogging) is giving me a way to express my feelings. This is a new concept for me and one that I am still learning. I have always been a good reporter. I can tell you what has happened to me. But the why or the “how did that make me feel” part I would gloss over or ignore all together.
It is also giving me a way to work through situations, ask better questions, and see in black and white what I am thinking. Depression can be just as destructive in little decisions as it is with my major decisions. I recognize that now and am on alert to its unwelcome influence.
I had thought for my 100th post that I would share the short video I shot of myself the first morning I was home from the hospital. I had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and had started taking 20 mg. of Prozac. I looked at the video to decide if I was ready to share it, and I looked terrible. I sounded terrible and did not look like myself. I was a mess. I was really depressed.
It turns out that even as honest and open as I have been about my experience, I am not quite ready to share my video of my thoughts about facing life with depression.
But I am putting in writing that I will share the video as my 200th blog post. I have only missed one or two days since I was released from the hospital. This means I will be hitting post 200 in early December. It is important to me that you can see there is hope. Seeing me in before and after videos is proof to me that there is hope. That there is life with depression.
That first morning, I was told by professionals in the medical community that there was hope. They told me the medicine would help, the therapy would help, the tools they shared would help. But all of that was in the future. That Sunday morning all I felt was emptiness and that I was alone. I still mostly saw the wall, with no clear or real path forward.
100 days later, I am surrounded by a support network that continues to grow, and the future is brighter than ever.
This is a feeling that grew on me as the medicine started to work, the therapy sessions began to make sense, and the self-help tools I was given and found, began to work. It is still a struggle, at times. Depression is sneaky. It is secretive and sly. It often acts like my friend, treating me to lavish meals, then runs out when the bill is due, leaving me to do the dishes to pay it off.
So, I continue to learn, to ask questions, to keep depression out in the open where I can see it.
I have developed my own personal WRAP, wellness recovery action plan, and have used it. I am going to SMART meetings, individual therapy sessions and have a Psychiatrist helping me with my medication. All of this, combined with my journaling, has been my path towards recovery.
I am so blessed to have you along with me on my journey.
Your thoughts and comments, likes and shares have meant so much to me. I was even nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. What an honor to be selected by my peers as I share my journey.
I am forever in debt to the doctors and nurses who helped me in the hospital, and everyone who has helped me since. My therapist, my psychiatrist, my peer support advocates, and everyone I have meet in group meetings. Life today would be so different had I not decided to ask for professional help.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.