Time to leave the past behind
My friends and social media followers might be surprised at the positive nature of this post. This series was conceived under the working title of Beating Depression Through Writing Books.
I’m fully aware of the dangers of dwelling on the negative aspects of this condition. So, for my own health and to give something of value to others, I need to balance the desire to speak out with caution that I don’t identify myself with depression. It must not define me.
This illness has blighted my life for long enough. It’s disabled me for more than a decade, and I’m no longer going to identify myself with it. I’m starting a fresh career, a new adventure, a different life. I refuse to allow depression to stop my taking part in life.
I’m realistic enough to know that a battle remains to be fought and won. Beating depression is a serious challenge. There will be ups and downs, and the downs will be terrible and frightening. Also, I want to help fellow sufferers make sense of this condition, which means I still need to face it and discuss it.
The warmth of friends, the comfort of strangers
Several times, I’ve been suicidal, and this has distressed and scared the people close to me. But if I’d stayed silent or sought to “control” my feelings and fears, I wouldn’t be alive today. I’ve been honest and authentic and must continue to be so.
When I was close to a total breakdown, the outpouring of support astonished me. Good friends of many years surprised me with stories of their pain. People I’d never met spent hours composing messages of encouragement. I shall be eternally grateful to the friends and family who have shared this burden and enabled me to express myself. They made me feel safe. They showed me I had value, that my life had meaning.
Some have found it helpful to hear about my experiences. Several people told me they were better able to deal with their depression after reading about mine. Others were relieved to discover they weren’t alone in their struggle. Even more gained a deeper understanding of their loved ones’ suffering.
But not everyone appreciated my frankness. Some slipped away quietly, removing themselves from my life with a click. A few attacked me with accusations of manipulation and attention-seeking. Believe me, when that darkness falls, you cannot see clearly enough to deceive. It’s just about panic and survival. And when you feel worthless, attention is the last thing on your disturbed mind. You just want to hide.
Maybe I can turn this suffering into
something that will help others…
Insults, abandonment and rejection hurt deeply when you’re vulnerable. But people are entitled to make their choice. One lady wrote a hateful tirade running to thousands of words. Her outburst could have killed me, but I understood it was meant for her brother who had taken his life.
My doubts about the ethics of full disclosure vanished with a message from an American Facebook friend. Exhausted to the point of despair, she had gone to the beach to drown. As the waves started to claim her, a thought popped into her head: “I need to be there to help Stewart. I cannot do this.”
I was shocked. But thankful. Maybe I could turn this suffering into something that could help others. I thought a blog might help. I shall continue to be open and honest about the illness.
Old foe, new rules
So, I’ve lived to fight another day. I’m beating depression, one round at a time. And from now on, this contest takes place on my terms, under my rules:
Rule 1 I don’t own this depression, and it doesn’t own me.
Rule 2 Each day is one round in a boxing match.
Rule 3 If I’m still fighting, I ‘m winning.
Rule 4 If I get knocked down, I get up again. And again. And again.
Rule 5 I have great people in my corner. I shall listen to them, follow their advice and call on their support.
Depression is a brutal opponent. It’s relentless. It fights dirty. It preys on your weaknesses, your worst fears. It kicks you hardest when you’re down. I didn’t choose this conflict but it’s one I have to face, and one I have to win.
So, my blog will tackle depression from time to time. Indeed, I soon want to share the recent insights that have changed my attitude and prompted new strategies.
But this blog is NOT about depression. It’s about my reclaiming my life and making a contribution to the world. I’m leaving the past behind It would be wonderful if others will join me, and do the same.
What do YOU think? How does depression affect you? Are you close to someone with this illness? Do you have insights on beating depression you wish to share? Which aspects of living with and fighting this illness would you like me to discuss? Can you join me in beating depression?
Please comment below.