Jul 14, 2016
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
For the first eight years of my depression, I managed it-with mediocre success-without the benefit of medication because either the drugs had no effect or the side effects were so horrendous that I could not endure them. By the third relapse, in 2010, I decided to try a different treatment approach. With a rock-solid faith, I voiced a desperate petition to the Universe for help. I knew the Divine Spirit heard me and would come through in Her subtle manner – I had faith. All I needed was to keep all of my senses open and receptive, especially my sixth sense.
My job was to receive Her guidance using all methods available. I focused on opening my heart and soul to be receptive, sharpening my internal knowing skills by tuning in to the Spirit – meditating every morning, paying attending to my dreams, listening closely to what my intuition was picking up, saying yes to the book I needed that all but jumped into my hands as I browsed book shelves in my local book store. I signed up to special courses to sharpen my perceptions and learn how to co-create my reality using law-of-attraction principles. I learned all I could about how the energy world communicates with this Earth-bound spirit.
The act of creating improved the functioning of my brain.
I learned through trial and error that creativity was key to my healing, that the act of creating improved the functioning of my brain. I could feel the difference in my mood and thinking abilities from having spent the day in creative activity compared to a day without. I have since learned that creativity is used quite successfully in many treatments of depression. Try googling “depression creativity treatment” for some fascinating reading.
With the help of a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (CBT), I flipped my thinking right side up. I worked on building my self-esteem because it had taken quite a beating over the past years, with depression managing my thoughts and adding to the decline of my self-worth. No more!
I was on medical leave because I could no longer cope with my job. By now, I was experiencing generalized anxiety, and gaining control of my thoughts was paramount. My entire focus during this year off was on learning how to get myself well, permanently. I was determined to find a better way, one designed especially for everything that makes up me, including my temperament.
This book became my compass at a time when nothing felt real.
I strengthened my character by practicing self-discipline one tiny step at a time, by doing the next right thing just for this moment, and I adopted and worked on building in virtues that I admired. Matthew Kelly’s “Nine Lessons for Enduring Happiness” found in Perfectly Yourself, were my precious guiding lights. This book became my compass at a time when nothing felt real and I especially needed my world to be solid. And it worked. I am nearing the six-year mark without experiencing depression or anxiety.
Several weeks before returning to work, I was prescribed Cymbalta, a drug that was new on the market and that had not been available during my last foray with antidepressants. I feel extremely fortunate that it worked for me, and how-it improved my life 100 per cent! The difference it made to my outlook, my mood, my thinking capacity, my zest for life, even my work life, was incredible. I was transformed into a different person. I hadn’t felt this vibrant in 20 years. So, when I hear people dismissing antidepressants out of hand, I react. I say, hey, wait a minute. It might not be what you need or want, but my meds have saved my life. So, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater… That’s what I say.
My very life was at stake here.
There were some close calls when I returned to my job, but being so attuned to my thoughts and emotions, I was able to abort the downward spiral by asking for help immediately. I treated these alerts like emergencies, because in my world, that’s what they were. My very life was at stake here, and I didn’t fool around with waiting to see if it would develop into depression; I stopped it before it could.
I wrote a book about my experience in which I share the lessons and mechanisms I used to become healthy and happy. If someone could be helped by my exploration and experience, it will have been worth the effort. Since there has to be a better way to treating depression than what I had been offered, which was pretty much nothing.
Good luck to you, dear reader. Reach out. You can’t do it alone, but you alone must do it.