This article is from CandleX column: My Story with Depression. This column is dedicated to raising awareness about depression and bipolar disorder through sharing personal stories, experiences, perspectives and reflections.
All articles are written by CandleX community members. This one is written by Noch Noch Li.
To me, depression is like a lock down! It’s when my body and mind protest in a most violent manner. When you are in that state, there’s nothing to appreciate, nothing to look forward to, until…. you get to the end of that tunnel, and start to analyze what happened.
Here’s my own reflection: We all are taught from a young age to speak in a certain way, to act in a certain way, or even to like or dislike specific things.
The voice of our inner being is repressed as we grow older, and we slowly get lost in the society that has expectations of us. Depression is the last call for awakening, in a very powerful and violent way. It tells me to respect my feelings over the rules, and it tells me to listen to my desires, and not to merely control them.
Thank you, depression.
Depression changed my life – for the better.
This was unexpected. My physical pains and emotional agony were my wakeup call from a life I did not choose to live. It was my heart’s way of vying for attention, because I had ignored the small voice inside of me for so long. The endeavour to be what others wanted me to be, to chisel into perfection the image society would laud and honour, over exerted my soul, body, and mind. I had had enough. But I was stubborn and did not take a break. So mini-me decided to stomp on the emergency breaks as protest. I collapsed like an air statue suddenly devoid of helium.
Had it not been for depression, I might still be running on a treadmill aimlessly, going nowhere, and doing something I did not love, even though I was good at it. I could have experienced a more severe breakdown.
Every time I think of those inexplicable, dark, murky days in which I could not control my thoughts, emotions or behaviour, consumed by lassitude and anguish, my heart muscle winces. It is not an experience I wish to go through again or wish on anyone.
Source: Rekki Miyamoto
Yet, self-tortuous as I am, I do sometimes think I should relive those days.
If I had known about depression, and the metamorphosis I would undergo, I would have let myself embrace the destitute hopelessness to a fuller extent to reap the lessons more patiently. Instead, I was in a hurry to get out of the state. I was frustrated at having to take anti-depressants every day. I was angry with myself for not being able to “pull myself together” when everyone told me to. I did not understand what I was going through.
However, when I was livid, distressed, in grief, in despair, in manic tears, in a tantrum, or simply rotting on my couch, I was also at my most expressive. Words tumbled out in my mind, thoughts penetrated through the subconscious, and suppressed emotions blossomed.
I wish I had written more of that down instead of swearing at my journal. I re-read one of the entries and all it said was “F**k this and f**k that and f**k life”. But there is no going back, and I do not regret how I faced this dark monster. Indeed, I have qualms with painting such a bleak picture of depression. For a long time, I placed it across the enemy lines and made depression an opponent – something I had to win over, had to be stronger than, and more powerful than.
I tried to control depression. I tried to defeat it. However, that was exactly why depression consumed me. The more I fought, the more it entangled. The day I noticed the glimpse of aura (unlike the aura I saw at the onset of an excruciating migraine) beyond depression, the dark force shattered, fragment by fragment.
Depression is not a foe; depression is a friend. As Buddha would say: pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.
Depression is an angel, to bring a message, but in a way we do not expect and so we cast it out. We define it as negative because our learned conditional responses equate any pain or despair as negative. We hide under the comfort zone to commiserate with other victims of this illness. We judge it with preconceptions before it has had a chance to be heard.
If I could, I would go through the same pain again. Only this time, I would not classify the pain as something to get rid of, nor would it be a treacherous shark. It was only by my own decision that I let the pain devour me. I would embrace the messages the pain wanted to deliver. I would listen to my body and my soul. I would look for the root causes of the situation instead of trying to get rid of the painful symptoms.
The pain is neutral; my suffering and my verdict that depression was an enemy, was subjective.
Once I opened up to it, listened to it, embraced it, depression became less threatening. Depression built my character, it reinforced self-awareness, it taught me to express my emotions, it brought me back writing, to cooking, and introduced me to Bearapy.
Take your time.
Let depression be a guiding light to a better understanding of your emotions, thoughts and behaviours.
Let it build you, prepare you, train you to become greater than you dare imagine.
You will get better. You will be better.
And so again, thank you sickness, thank you depression.
(Originally published on NochNoch.com)
Today’s story comes from Nochy, who sees herself as a gigglepot, a perfectionist, a bossy wife, the Bearalist, a fan of Dr Seuss, and an expert in making fish face impressions. Occasionally she works as a play consultant and writes about mental health issues, based in Beijing
If you’d like to share your stories and experience with depression, mania and/or severe anxiety or stress, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org