You Aren’t ALONE
The last week has been pretty heavy for me. My grandmother passed away a few months ago and our family held a service graveside this pasts Sunday to unveil her tombstone. Making it feel more final that she is really gone. Since I wasn’t able to be at her funeral this was my first time seeing her at the cemetery and it hit me much harder than the rest of the family. At the time of her passing I wrote my weekly newsletter about her and her struggles which you can read HERE. I talked about how she had suffered from severe depression and never got the help that could have given her a new lease on life.
After the cemetery I decided it was the perfect time to go through some of my old papers and get rid of as much as I could. On the journey through memory lane I found something I had written a 3 and a half years ago, few months after I hit rock bottom in my life. I talked about my journey and lessons from treating and healing depression and anxiety. I’d like to share it with you today.
I wrote it when I was still in the thick of recovery. It’s slightly overly dramatic (which I have been called out on from time to time). It’s a great read that brings up several issues I feel still need to be talked about today.
“One of the greatest gifts I could have received recently was the realization that I was not alone in suffering from depression and anxiety.
I said during my first group therapy session that “I suffered from severe anxiety, and when my anxiety got really bad, depression would pop up and say “Hey let’s not leave anxiety to work alone; let’s make this a party!”. Leaving me to deal with both at the same time- How Fun”. The animator commented on how nice it was that I hadn’t lost my sense of humour. Truth be told I had; I’m Jewish so the jokes come out of me on their own accord, not mine.
What I quickly realized was that each group member’s experience was not that different from my own. They had been normal functioning members of society; loving, kind people who were full of life and then out of nowhere after a difficult situation they found themselves confined to their apartments like prisoners in lockdown. My ‘cell’ had been in a nice prosperous suburban neighbourhood, it had a swimming pool, satellite tv, all the food you could dream of. Yet I was in a tiny room with papers and items covering every inch of it. There were trinkets from trips abroad, nice reminders of my debt and what seems like fleeting moments of a happier life I used to have. Those memories were now nothing more than a film reel in my mind, replaying itself again and again as I lay starving in my bed crying.
The group therapy came at the end of 6 months of me trying to rehabilitate my life. A struggle to revive the spirit in my body that had died many years earlier. I decided shortly after coming out of the hospital that if I am still alive, if I am still breathing, I may as well keep going. I was no longer available to live the life I had been for so long.
The good news was that ANYTHING was better than that life.
A few small changes were needed to get me on the right path.
I left my parent’s house (who had no clue what depression was) with a small carry-on bag
* Thank you to my dear friend for taking in a drugged-up, suicidal, broke girl*
No more meat or dairy
Therapy twice a week
New 250 sq ft apartment when I was stable
Having a new desire to put one foot in front of the other
As the days passed my endless crying ceased; my suicidal idealization dwindled to practically nothing. Smiling was a regular activity of mine, even as I walked alone down the street.
Yet before the group therapy I still felt as though this battle I had waged against my inner thoughts were limited to myself and very few other people; that I was alone in this struggle.
Wrong! So many people I spoke to over the months after I hit rock bottom had either experienced anxiety or depression themselves, or lived with someone who had.
Why don’t people talk about it more often?
Doesn’t our suffering classify us as human, as emotional sentient beings- who cry, and at times lock ourselves into our own solitary confinement (literally or emotionally)?
Maybe I am realizing something others before me already knew- that everyone suffers and doesn’t want to talk about it.
Hiding their pain from the world, like I had, with a faint smile and an awkward laugh “I’m fine, really”.
For the sake of those I met in group therapy I want to scream from the roof-tops- WE ARE NOT FINE!!! But we will be, and that’s ok.
I am almost, dare I say, PROUD to be amongst sufferers of “the dark cloud that doesn’t go away” because I get to challenge myself, my thoughts, feelings and fears in a way I never would have imagined. I get to connect to strangers in a weekly group meeting and discuss issues that I couldn’t even with my closest friends……”.
The passage I had written ends there. I’m not too sure why I didn’t bring it to a full conclusion but that may be because there wasn’t one at that time. 3 and a half years have passed since then and boy has my life changed! But the issue still remains for you and so many men and women. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s alright to feel stuck in your life, to hit rock bottom, for it to look and FEEL like SHIT.
Talk about what you are going through– if it’s exciting, happy, joyous, frustrating, sad, annoying- whatever it may be , talk about it. Maybe all of your friends won’t understand, so find one person that you trust and know will get what you are feeling and talk about it. The worst thing I had done for my health- which led me to such a dark place in the first place- was that I FELT ALONE and kept everything inside. I thought no one would get what I was feeling or thinking. I was ASHAMED of myself.
Nothing is written in stone…NOTHING!!!! As long as you are still alive, as long as you are breathing, you may as well keep going and no longer be available for a life you aren’t excited to wake up to each day.
You aren’t ALONE.