I created this website in part to share my journey. I’ve been to many dark places. I’ve crawled out of a lot of holes. I created this to share my darkness, my answers, my personality, my hopes, dreams, thoughts, the good and the bad. I wanted to show others how I’ve done it.
I am connected to a number of depressed individuals online and offline. It constantly surprises me and scares me to read what they write about how they feel and what they go through. I have had depression twice in my life, where it has been diagnosed. I find a way out. I wonder why others are unable to find their way out. What is it that I did?
The first time I had depression was after I left university. Degree-less and utterly without hope for the future. I had nothing. I moved back in with my mother, in debt and surrounded by friends who didn’t really ‘get’ me. I felt very alone. My only connection to sanity was my two best friends that I made whilst in uni. Phone calls and letters between us all kept me going, as well as the odd visit. No one around me could understand or was supportive of how I was feeling. I just had nothing.
The light in my dark tunnel was not far away. I discovered a yoga dvd of my sisters and stole her gym playsuit that I found laying around. Having nothing else to do with my time, I began doing an hour of yoga everyday and loved it. I loved watching my ability increase every day and loved how my body felt afterwards. The challenge ignited me. If there was a position I couldn’t quite manage, I would remain focussed and push myself to get there. My body got healthier, leaner and my confidence began to grow.
The next light was being referred for counselling at my Doctors surgery. My counsellor was lovely and I’ve struggled to find another that I’ve managed to click with as well as this one. I was also put on anti-depressants at this time. My counsellor gave me the time to explore how I was feeling, made me feel heard and gave me space to just talk about whatever was bothering me. I enjoyed going to see her, having someone to chat to who didn’t make me feel worse about myself.
A big light was an advancement in my spiritual journey. My mother took me to town with her one day. We spotted a bookshop that was selling books for £1. She offered to buy me some and took me in. This was the start of my non-fiction book obsession. I found a few books on subjects that were intriguing to me. One of the books was my real shining light. It was ‘Living Magically’. This was like being reminded of Home. It confirmed to me all my suspicions about the spiritual world and how life was supposed to be, or rather how I’d always suspected it to be. Literally overnight I shed so many of my anxieties. I was due to see my counsellor that week and she was shocked at the change in me. I wore clothes to show off my new yoga body, and sat before her, bright, lean and happy.
I was then successful in getting a new job. Nothing intense, just simple data entry. The guy who interviewed me wanted me specifically for my personality. He explained that he wanted someone bubbly and positive, simply to motivate the others since the job was so boring. I was pretty happy with this! I got back into paid work and my life was starting to pull back together. I later got a better paid job and used the money to upgrade my life. Buying myself more books, a computer, new clothes etc etc. All the structure around me that gave me the material of a better life. I stumbled into my first relationship and now that I had support available in person whenever I needed it, I began to come off my anti-depressants.
My first depression success story peaked at age 22.
The second time was while I was working in a long term job that I hated. I’m not quite sure what happened here. I was in a difficult relationship where my boyfriend was very much unavailable. I didn’t have much in the way of friends and it seemed like most of my connections were with people who had some mental health issues themselves or a drug/alcohol/gambling addiction of some sort. Everywhere I turned in my life, I was faced with difficult social situations and people who had problems that were bigger than themselves. There was no escape anywhere. As much as I tried to pull my life together, I just found it was undone by the people around me. I would beg my boss for a chat about my working situation and she would instead shout at me. I would ask my boyfriend to spend some time with me, and he would turn off his phone as I was expecting him home. I moved in with one of my best friends, and months later she moved out and away from me. I would go to the pub with a new friend, and she would have a mental breakdown and yell abuse at me. There was no light. I got a new job which was a mammoth task to learn and turned to anti-depressants again.
The new job was actually full of people around my age. I developed friendships, a social life. And as I got better at my job, my confidence picked up again. I no longer needed my unreliable boyfriend as I now had my own life. Going to work with lots of people who I had fun with was an absolute joy. I didn’t need the anti-depressants anymore. And once again slowly came off them. My life soared. I was out regularly with people I adore and my crappy boyfriend became more available. A social animal himself, he loved meeting all my new friends and wanted to be a part of the action. My life changed dramatically after that, but I haven’t turned to anti-depressants since then.
Two stories with different happy triggers, both resulting in the same outcome. I had the strength to upgrade my life. For both, I had someone I could talk to who could support me. Being able to get into a job that gave me purpose everyday was essential. I can honestly say that time off work never helped me in the long run. Being out of work made me more isolated, made me feel more of a failure and put pressure on the people around me. It also increased my social anxiety to the point where leaving the house became unbelievably difficult. I think the situation is different when depression is a result of burn out. Those times you need to rest, sleep and find yourself. In my situations here it was more important that I earned money to put in place the external things that I needed to feel better. Exercise was also a large aspect. In the second story my jobs were a 40 min walk from home, which I walked every day. My more social job was a very active job where I was required to walk constantly at times during the shift. Getting lazy wasn’t an option.
I also think I have a naturally positive outlook on life which supports me. My world can get very dark. But no matter how dark it gets I always eventually get to that spark that says “What else can you do before you 100% give up on yourself?”. My hopes and dreams have stayed alive beneath it all and reminded me that there’s still a life that I haven’t lived yet. The inner hope is something I could never turn off. I have this inner knowing that no matter what, life does hold underlying magic. There is a spark of God, or something Universe-like that urges us to keep going. My connection with that never fails to pull me out of the gutter. I have often felt completely hopeless about my life. But when I hold on long enough, the hope flickers in my peripherals again. It’s still there although I cannot see it. It never fully leaves me.
So this is my depression journey(s). I hope they bring hope to you. And help you find your own inner light.