To emerge from the darkest side of depression, is to be reborn. “Rebirth” is the little truth inside you saying, “My world was dark, but there’s a possibility that light will return”. It means the belief that depression has another side. This starts with introducing light into your day-to-day routine, so that you can begin to see down the road of recovery. Eventually painting the road into happiness and good memories, making your way to coping and managing daily activities. Darkness to light is a long journey. Unfortunately, most who are afflicted with depression are shown perpetual darkness and never get a glimpse of light. Until the stigma is reduced and people learn what mental illness is, those people may never get to emerge on the other side of depression. They will believe there is nothing but darkness.
You, or your loved one (if your not mentally ill), can enter the realm of rebirth. You have made it this far, against all odds. Look inside yourself and see all that you have overcome, nothing is impossible. Mental illnesses are, by their very nature, disruptive to a person’s life. It doesn’t mean you can’t overcome. Imagine if you had diabetes and had to manage it everyday, mental illness is no different. You can find help if you need it and learn coping skills to make your day-to-day easier. Something that people often overlook is that having supportive relationships can be a huge asset, research has shown that it is an essential part of recovery. Having a mental illness can alter the way we perceive the world, to a point of self-destruction. Relationships can provide input to counter that perception, a psychological balance. Personally, relationships have always been the hardest. The same can be said for anyone with children, terminal diseases, demanding careers, people who live far away from family, or people who breathe oxygen and live on this planet. It’s not easy for anyone and having a mental illness definitely makes it a challenge, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have them. However, you have to be careful, because many people do not understand, or don’t want to understand, mental illness and therefore will give you the “just get over it” response. It’s not that they don’t care, they just have never lived a day like you live everyday. Unfortunately, the inability to “just get over it” is exactly the problem. It’s what makes the mentally ill different. Everyone has problems handling emotions, but mental illness affects the part of your brain that helps make your way back, from discouragement and despair, to normal. It’s a malfunction. That’s why therapy can be very beneficial, it helps you do what your brain can’t do for you. Eventually you will build up coping skills and a routine with your therapy that will lead you down the road of recovery. But that can be a long process, you have to invest in it and believe in yourself, it could take years.
My personal journey took over ten years. I have been in treatment facilities a few times, gone through three therapist before i found a good match. I’ve been on almost all of the recommended medications because my genetics play a factor (being that i am a redhead), many medications simply don’t work on me. Redhead genes are different, i had to get genetic testing done to see what could work and then i finally found the right medication. However, that is not where my journey started. My depression started when i was around eight years old, i didn’t even know what i was going through at the time. At about seventh grade is when i realized i was depressed. I did not realize it meant that I have a mental illness, I just thought I was sad and i shouldn’t tell anyone. First, I didn’t think anyone would understand which made me feel so alone, and second, I was embarrassed because I thought depression meant there was something wrong with me. I spent a lot of time hiding the fact that I had depression from everyone i knew, even my twin sister who I told everything to. Most of what i remember from my childhood was loneliness and darkness. I try to dig deep in my memories to find the happiness but i can never reach them and if i do grab hold of a happy memory, it is quickly forgotten. That is why i have hundreds of pictures hanging everywhere in my home and saved in my phone for easy viewing. So i constantly have pictures of happy moments and hopefully they can nudge my happy memories to come out of hiding.
Even though there were many dark days, the story of how i emerged on the other side of depression is a powerful one, in my opinion. I intend to keep telling my story to everyone who will listen and hopefully it will help people living with mental illness and who are suffering. And when they emerge on the other side full of motivation and accomplishment, their transition from darkness to light will be a powerful story for others who are not yet on the other side of depression. Whoever you are, mentally ill or not, educating as many people as you can on mental illness is essential to reducing the stigma. So that having depression won’t keep afflicted people from getting help, but rather give them the hope and encouragement they desperately need. Humans are wired to help each other. If we let depressed individuals live in darkness and silence, then we are coming apart. Making it hard, if not impossible, for the mentally ill to emerge from the darkness