Apparently, I wrote sad stuff when I was much younger. My poems and journal entries speak of anger, frustration and sadness, to say the least. I had a lot of hang-ups back then. Little did I know that I was being pulled into the abyss of depression. Until I finally succumbed to it. There were triggers that led me to the hell that was depression. Few people understand this condition. Fewer people even accept what it really is.
While I was going through that difficult period in my life, people closest to me would say, “You just don’t pray enough.” Or perhaps they would utter, “Maybe you are harboring an unconfessed sin in your life, that’s why you’re depressed.” Or they would say, “That’s just momentary.”
They did not help me in any way. They even added to the hurt that I was already feeling. At some point, I would like to believe them, until that fateful day happened.
I realized I needed professional help when I found myself attempting to end my life. I was already crying for desperate help! I have been silent on this area in my life for so long, since I know that not all would understand, especially I am of Christian background.
But I am now ready to break my silence. I would like to put a real face to what depression really is.
I was diagnosed to have clinical depression last 1997. There was a chemical imbalance in my brain and I was treated for it with oral medications combined with a series of psychotherapy sessions to deal with my pressing issues at hand. It recurred in 1999. And reappeared many years after. It was safe to say I was struggling with the condition. Research says, that once a person was diagnosed with depression, it is more likely that he or she will experience a recurrence. It may also be genetic in nature.
Tell-tale signs of my depression was lack of appetite, inability to sleep, lack of interest in the things that I previously enjoy, fear of people, anxiety over the future, crying bouts and the angry, emotional outbursts I would often have.
My family and friends did not know how to handle me anymore. Till I realized that only few people stayed with me during this dark night of my soul. That’s when I discovered who my real friends were. They were the ones who would sit with me in silence, offer me a comforting prayer and embrace, and visit me at home even when I couldn’t relate with them normally. They were the ones who loved and accepted me for who I really was. Stripped of my usual, smart, confident self; they came to know the scared, insecure self that I really was.
Depression may be ugly. But it brings out the beauty in every person that goes through with it. It sheds off the mask that most people put on to gain acceptance in society. It brings forth compassion for the unloved and the unaccepted. It gives new meaning to deliverance from darkness after one has gained victory over that condition. It assures you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I am now in my mid-30s. I am still under maintenance medication to ensure chemical balance in my brain to prevent me from having to succumb to depression again. But what gives me joy now, is that I have learned to develop coping mechanisms to deal with my daily struggles. I have faced my issues head-on. I have a loving, supportive family who completely accepts me. And I have a God of hope bigger than any depression.
Photo credit: imgfave.com