Depression and Recovery from Mental Health Struggles

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depression, mental health, recovery

I have talked a lot about taking a look at the truth in order to realize how I arrived with repeated depression, broken, exhausted and ready to throw my life away in my early forties. I had to look at what happened to me through new lenses. I had to realize that I was innocent of blame for the mess in my childhood that resulted in my adult life still being a mess. There is a gap between childhood and adulthood that I discovered is a very common place where many of us get stuck. We reach a certain age in our early twenties and we are told that we are adults and we are responsible for our lives. Stop blaming others, get over it and get on with it. But no one helped me sort it out when I was a kid. I had been treated like I was less important than the adults in my life. SO how was I supposed to suddenly know my value, get over “it” and get on with it?  As a child I had this sense of having been abandoned ~ my feelings didn’t matter, I was not taken care of and I did not grow up “properly” as a result. No one helped me with this mess, a mess that I was innocent of creating, BUT nevertheless, it was still my mess. It was finally clear that no one was going to rescue me. It was clear that my family was not going to suddenly wake up and love me. No one was going to suddenly realize my value. It was up to me.

I did not realize that I was a victim. I didn’t like that word and didn’t really understand it. I thought it meant that I was a whiner. I thought a victim was someone who complained all the time about the world and it’s people and about what a tough hand of cards they had been dealt. I wasn’t a whiner. I grew up in a world where depression has a stigma. Deep down no matter how much I heard that depression was common, that many struggled, yada yada yada, there was a stigma surrounding it and I believed it was a weakness. I didn’t want to admit that I was on anti depressants; I would have been seen as weak, lacking in faith, and like everything else in my life, I must be doing something wrong.  I tried positive thinking, affirmation, bible study, self help books and seminars. They all worked for a while, but nothing had a lasting effect. I was exhausted. The depressions that I had dealt with since I was ten years old were getting worse and more frequent. I was losing the fight. I felt like I was being held under water, struggling to breathe, fighting to have a voice and a place in this world. And I was losing.

It was time to step back and take a look at my life. I put all the puzzle pieces on the table. The mess was overwhelming. I didn’t think I could face it, I didn’t think that I could