Family Magazine

Thriving with Depression

By Journeymum

Thriving with Depression

It’s been two and a half years since I was formally diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. It’s still not something I have been able to put completely behind me, nor do I think it ever will be. Depression and anxiety remain my daily companions, but instead of being door closed in front of me, they linger behind me like my shadow.

I have so enjoyed getting to know myself, learning all the little things that make me who I am. It seems a little silly to think that you can be yourself and yet not really understand what makes you you, or what things set you off. I find it really exciting to know those things now.

I’m currently working in Human Resources and have had the opportunity to see a lot of psychometric assessments throughout the recruitment process, including my own. I could quite literally pour over my tests results for hours with fascination and enjoying some pretty real elements of surprise as well. The sort of person I am now, two years after diagnosis, has changed a great deal.

I feel great enthusiasm for learning. The downside of that is that it can rear up as being pure perfectionism, then I have to take a mental step back, let go and allow myself to risk making mistakes. More than anything I just feel a drive to achieve, to excel. I’m excited by the kind of person I have grown in to, and I am excited to push my limits. Rather than being overwhelmed by pressure, I’ve learnt to thrive in it and, my goodness, I’ve actually come to enjoy and somewhat crave the little adrenaline rush that pressure gives me. I’ll trade the desire to cut with the desire to achieve any day.

I am still on medications although I have recently been working with a doctor and a psychiatrist to adjust my dosage (lowering) and to change one medication. I feel that I am coping very well with the pressures in my life, and I didn’t have a massive breakdown even when I moved countries. I have taken a very proactive approach to my mental health. I don’t want to be on medication just for the sake of being on it, but I don’t aim to be entirely medication free if I need it to remain stable. I don’t have a cold that can be cured by antibiotics, I have a disease, the symptoms of which can be managed with medication and counselling. I’m happy to take it week by week, pay attention to the subtle changes in my moods and my ability to cope.

I’m the kind of person where if I find something that works well for me, I am very keen to recommend it to other people. That’s how I feel about counselling. Now a part of me is reminding myself that it might be a good idea to go see a new counsellor for a few sessions to make sure I really am coping as well as I think I am. I consider that more of a mental health check-up, or if I can use a friendlier term, let’s call it a self-care check-up from an external perspective. Self-care has nicer connotations to it than mental health.

The reason I am sharing this, despite the fact that I still quite uncomfortable opening myself up to judgment on all of this, is that I really want to be able to offer a glimpse to someone who is in the depths of depression, feels them self sinking or perhaps has always lived with it but never realized there are other ways of being. I want them to be able to read something like this and recognize something in me that resonates with something in them. I am still working to shed the fear and the shame, but I desperately want other people who are new in this journey to not feel it themselves.

If you think this could help someone else, please pass it on.

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