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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't let depression destroy your life

If you have suffered from depression you will know the helplessness and despair of living with it every day of your life. Real depression is not like the blues where you can pull yourself out of or “pull your self together”. It is a debilitating illness that can destroy your life as well as those around you. I have suffered from depression for 17 years which became acutely intense when I lost my son Emile. With the help of the right medication and therapy I am able to live a normal life again. Unfortunately when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain it takes time to find the right medication that will work with you. There are also all kinds of different depression a person can suffer from. I don’t have much knowledge about all of them only mine which is where the brain has an imbalance of serotonin.

A person who doesn't suffer from and have never suffered from depression has no idea what it is like to live with it. They think we can just make a decision and be over it. If only it was that easy. After my son Emile died I couldn't get out of my bed to do anything. There was no reason for me to live any more, or so I thought. Suicide was a calling siren that occupied my mind day and night. I was absolutely obsessed with death and wanted it to fetch me right away. You can’t explain this to anyone, they think you are insane or pitying yourself. For you at that moment it is reality and feels like the only way out of the unbearable pain and despair you are feeling. I tried to follow Emile on two occasions but it wasn't meant to be. I tried grief counseling, trauma therapy and talking to other depression sufferers.
Nothing seemed to help me. Then after a suicide attempt someone referred me to a psychologist that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to treat his patients. It teaches you to control your emotions and grief and not let it control you. When you are suffering from depression you are very emotional and when your mind starts running away with you, you feel completely helpless against its onslaught. We are the master of our minds not the other way around. However, we need to learn to control our minds, and it is not an easy task. With every thought we start a pattern that can lead to a loss of control and ultimately to a feeling of complete despair.
One thought of pain and unhappiness leads to another worse one and before you can stop it you are in the midst of darkness that feels completely encompassing with no way out. With that comes the feeling of madness as well. At one stage I thought I was losing my mind and with just a step in the wrong direction I was going to go insane and never be able to come back again. It truly felt as if I was hanging onto sanity by a thread. Your mind is very powerful if you let it be. It can make you feel utter despair, helpless, useless, of no account to life or those around you and that life has no meaning at all. Fortunately with the right therapy and medication it can be overcome and used to make life worth living again.
Meditation was another great tool that helped me see things in reality and not the way my mind was
distorting it. It helps to empty the mind of all thoughts and concentrate on something positive, like the love of God. It wasn't easy in the beginning because my thoughts seemed to have their own life. With lots of practice I used that on many occasions to center my thoughts on the positive and everything I still had to be thankful for and reasons to live. Life is a wonderful gift and we are here for a reason so don’t let your depression take the joy of life away from you. If you need to talk to someone please feel free to contact me, I know what you are suffering through. We are all in this together.
Blessed Be and Namaste!