I think of my depression as a thief. It crept in when I least expected it and it took everything that was dear to me. But unlike a thief, it didn’t take a laptop, jewellery or money. It took away the things that made me who I was; my outgoing personality, my confidence and my zest for life.
I became a shadow of myself. I dealt with how I was feeling the only way I knew how, by withdrawing into myself.
In my eyes, it was self-preservation. The way I saw it, the less people I let in to my life, the less chance I had of being hurt or disappointed. I lost faith in others, and I lost faith in myself. I often thought about my life and what I was unhappy with.
But I told myself that I shouldn’t make any decisions to change anything because:
1) I was ill and I wasn’t seeing things clearly
2) I wasn’t strong enough.
Number 1 was a fairly valid reason. Decisions that are motivated by erratic moods, irrational thoughts and extreme emotions are almost always going to be the wrong ones.
But telling myself that I wasn’t strong enough, that wasn’t me.That was depression. Depression won’t hesitate to tell you that you’re weak, incapable and unlovable.
My now rational mind tells me that even at my lowest point, I was strong enough. I was strong enough to get out of bed every day, I was strong enough to seek help, and I was strong enough to make the decision to stay alive.
I was strong enough to find hope, when depression told me there was none. In terms of my own life, I knew that I had to make decisions, and they were big ones, about my relationship and my job.
But I decided that I would watch and wait.
When I started to feel better, the situations that were making me unhappy were still there, and I felt no different. Things had to change.
Change is a scary thing at the best of times. But sometimes it’s necessary.
People cling onto people and situations for a lot of different reasons. They feel they can’t leave or change things, or sometimes they just won’t. For me, it definitely wasn’t easy to leave a relationship I wasn’t happy in and to leave a job that was causing me undue stress. But ultimately, the reasons to stay as I was were outweighed by one huge reason to go; I needed to be happy.
Choosing to create a happy life for yourself is not selfish, it’s absolutely necessary. Happiness is not about getting what you want, it’s about having what you need. And as soon as I realised that, I found the peace within myself that I had been lacking for so long.