Living with the big D - Depression

Depression can creep up on you out of nowhere. You can have the best life and so many
amazing things going for you and still, depression can set in and cause
everything to feel dark. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can
remember. All the way back to childhood. From ages 10, I found several ways to
“deal” with my depression, from cutting myself, to alcohol, drugs,
poor choices, bad relationships…

The first time I cut myself was with a fork on my leg when I was 10. I
didn’t really know why I was doing it. Maybe I just wanted the physical
pain to match how I felt inside. Around 18 I stopped cutting myself but I
continued with the rest of it. Getting so drunk or high on whatever I was
taking and thinking in my mind, it would be cool if I just went to sleep and
never woke up. 5 years ago, I swallowed a handful of sleeping pills after a day
of binge drinking and cocaine hoping I could just sleep forever so I would
never have to feel the pain again. I woke up in the hospital by some miracle. I
continued to struggle for some time after that but what I did know was that
suicide was not an option for me anymore. You see, my little sister was there when
I woke up at the hospital and took me home with her that day. I felt horrible
for putting her through that and even worse thinking about how devastated she,
my mother and close friends would be had I not woken up. Committing to not
trying to kill myself again was one thing, but actually learning how to live
with depression has been another.

Depression feels like a lot of different things. It’s having zero motivation to do anything, from
getting out of bed in the morning, making yourself something to eat, drinking
water, going to the bathroom, showering, brushing your teeth, walking just a
few feet to pick something up… the most mundane tasks feel impossibly
overwhelming. It feels like what’s the point? Who cares? I’d rather sit in the
same spot and not move until I absolutely have to or maybe just fade away. It
feels like the deepest sadness all the way to your core. Hopeless. Overwhelmed.
Things you typically enjoy doing, seem pointless, not enjoyable or just way too
difficult. You have no energy and would rather curl up in a ball and never wake
up than feel the pain inside. Every sad thing comes to light. All the good
things don’t seem as good. The light is literally sucked out of you and all you
feel is darkness within. It’s lonely. So lonely. It feels like how could anyone
understand because let’s face it, to many people, they really don’t understand.
People will tell you how great your life is and ask how you could possibly be
sad. Unless they’ve gone through depression they usually just assume you’re
being negative and need to get over it. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
You can’t just shake it off.

For me, yoga has been the one thing that has helped the most. More than prescriptions meds or
therapy. Not just the actual physical practice but also the mental practice of
yoga, the meditation and mindfulness side of it has been huge for me. When my
mind spirals out and I find myself falling into the darkness, I may not be able
to completely pull myself out in the moment, but it does help me to maintain
perspective. The negative voices in my head have become easier to control. I
remind myself that this is the depression and that life really isn’t terrible.
As with anything, this will pass. Depression never stays forever. Sometimes
it’s a day, sometimes a few days, but in time, I’m able to pull myself back
into the light. Suffering is a part of life. I try to find the light in most
things nowadays, even depression. Through my own battles with depression I feel
I’ve developed more compassion for others suffering.

Millions of people suffer from depression so I know I’m not alone. I yearn to help others going
through similar battles. To help them understand that they can get through it
and live a great life. That nothing lasts forever, that there is light to be
found even in the darkest times. Hanging on through depression is worth it
because once you get into a better place, you are so much more thankful for the
good times. Every day without depression is a magical miracle and makes life
worth living. So, on the bad days, I try to remember the good days and that
there will be more good days ahead. It doesn’t always make the depression go
away in the moment, but it’s what keeps me sane and helps me to not sink into
the place of total disparity.

If you also suffer from depression, I want you know that you are not alone. I know it’s easy to beat
yourself up for not being happy and not understanding why you feel the way you
feel. Try to show yourself some compassion though. You’re doing your best.
You’re hanging on. You’re surviving. You’re breathing your way to the next
moment. Every moment that passes that you’re still alive you are doing great!
In time, these moments will pass and you will find yourself in a better place.
There is no magic pill. Living with depression does take work, but I can tell
you from experience, it’s so worth it. Start by putting your physical and
mental health first. When you have the days that you can pull yourself up, take
advantage of them. Be active, read, feed your soul. These things add up and
will help to make your bouts of depression fewer and further between. Practice
mindfulness and positive affirmations to help you get through the tough days.
Keep hanging on. It’s ok to feel however you feel. You will get through this.
One breath at a time. Just keep breathing.

*If you or someone you know are currently having thoughts of suicide, I encourage
you to seek out a professional and/or reach out to the suicide prevention life
line where they provide 24/7, free and confidential support for people in
distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best
practices for professionals. For more information, visit or
call 1-800-273-8255 .

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