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My Dear Friend Depression

I have a lot of experience with mental health issues. It’s true, these things are genetic. I have talked my mother through long bouts of depression. I’ve watched other family members and many friends walk their own path through illness.

And I have my own journey. Depression has shown up for me since I was a young teenager.

Back then, I believed my feelings were just a response to my environment. And that seemed normal given the circumstances.

Later, it showed up as compulsive actions. Studying, cleaning, exercise. I still sometimes revert to these behaviors when depression sneaks up on me.

Depression pushed me into creating and living in stories.

Stories that people hate me, don’t love me, and wish I was not around.

Depression has stolen days, weeks, and months of my life when I just can’t handle another “thing.’’

About 5 years ago, I decided to really pay close attention to what was happening in my mind and body. I didn’t want to be on meds any longer. I noticed that my creativity and problem solving abilities were significantly dampened and I hated making the tradeoff of being happy or smart.

I weaned off, and then started to notice when the stories crept in. I was able to do this because my life coach helped me to identify what stories may not be reality.

So when I started to think that my husband didn’t love me or that my boss was about to fire me, I would pause and question myself. Is this true? Is it even likely?

I started managing my own mind.

It’s important to note that these stories would pop up over the smallest things. I would draw completely paranoid and unrealistic conclusions and launch deep into my sad story.

Then every action I took was from a place of hurt. I created more sadness.

It was unnecessary. But like an addiction, I could not stop.