Thursday, July 16, 2009

Depression: It's Not Your Fault, but.....

Looking back, my particular battle with Depression unfolded in three stages. These stages were not evident to me at the time, however. Regrettably, coping with my life-altering symptoms left little time for honest reflection. In retrospect, though, these three distinct periods seem crystal clear.

Below is a brief explanation of each stage I passed through. Maybe you can recognize or relate to one or all of them, and maybe some of my errant thinking can save you a bit of unnecessary grief.

Stage One: Why Me?

When I first began experiencing the symptoms of Depression I felt conflicted. I was scared, sure, but I was mad too. Why did this thing have to hit me? Consequently, I began to blame everyone and everything within earshot. I blamed: my parents for passing on their genetic code, my job, my upbringing, doctors and my friends. This thing was wiping out everything I had worked for, and darn it, if I had to be miserable, I was determined to pass the misery along.

Stage Two: Poor Me!

Eventually, I accepted depression for what it really is: an ILLNESS. This scourge was not my fault, nor the fault of anyone else. Depression hit me in the same way cancer may hit another. This news in itself is not harmful. In fact, it should have been encouraging. But the way I reacted to this revelation is where I went dangerously wrong: I threw myself a world-class pity party. Slowly, I began to give up on everything formerly important to me and I retreated into a world of isolation and loneliness that, without going into too much detail, should have killed me.

Stage Three: The Right Combination

At the conclusion of the above two stages I felt beaten and bruised. My life had turned into something I dreaded, something only to be tolerated. Hope, the emotion that once made life bearable, was nowhere to be seen. Ultimately, I decided I had only two options, choices that may seem cliche, but they were all too real: live--really live--or die.

Well, you know what option I chose, and that decision ignited remarkable results. As it turned out, stage three was actually nothing more than an amalgamation of stages one and two. First, I accepted my depression as an illness, and then I got mad as hell, determined to beat it.

I came out of my cocoon and I started searching for, and applying, every piece of information I could get my hands on. I became an active participant in my recovery and I stopped playing the victim. With every small success my life gained a sense of momentum and purpose, and soon the light of hope, absent for so long, began to return.

Needless to say, it would have been great to have begun at stage three rather than putting myself and my loved ones through so much pain. That regret, though, is a worthless emotion unless put to good use. I hope my story helps to steer you into stage three before you have to cope with the hardship and misery of the other two.


Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you.

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