Are you sure you are not just sad? A question that not only I, but also many other sufferers hear when they tell us for the first time that they believe they are suffering from depression. So are depressions, as many in my environment thought, not simply sadness? In this post I tell you my Story.
Unfortunately, many people believe that depressed people are just lazy, have no ambition, and all these prejudices are true. Despite the incomprehension of many people, the number of those affected is constantly increasing. According to the German Federal Ministry of Health, around 350 million people worldwide suffer from the disease, making it a widespread illness. But what does it mean to be depressed? And is there a chance for a cure?
Not just sad!
Sure, everyone feels sad at times, but it will pass eventually. Being sad and angry, however, was a normal state for me. Every night I wish I would not wake up again. To live was unbearable for me. Outwardly I had no real problems. I had good grades, liked going to school and had friends. I saved my tantrums for the people closest to me, and I only let out my sadness when I was alone. The sadness and the anger became alone. Suicidal thoughts and self-harm were part of it all. It went on for years. Over the years it changed and the tantrums became more of a feeling of emptiness. But the anger toward myself remained. Life felt more like just surviving to me.
Recognizing depression: When should I get help?
Depressions have many faces and can run quite differently. It is also difficult to know when normal feelings such as sadness or anger become a critical mental state. Basically, it is always very important to talk about problems, doubts and fears with familiar people. But if you realize that your feelings and behaviors are hurting you, that you can’t cope with them on your own, and that talking to people you trust won’t help you, you should seek professional help. The sooner the better. For me, unfortunately, the insight came rather late. For years I always lived according to the motto "it’s still possible", looking for an escape in alcohol, parties or travels. Until at some point it was no longer possible and even these things could no longer suppress anything. The suffering became so severe that I decided to seek professional help almost three years ago.
What help is available?
This decision changed everything for me. For the first time I didn’t just want to survive, but to really live. I started psychotherapy and for the first time there was a person who made me feel understood and taken seriously. I learned to talk about my feelings, thoughts and problems. With time I started to try other things as well. I started meditating, joined an online coaching group of a former Hindu monk, and tried alternative healing methods like hypnosis and constellation work – a kind of visualization of social relationships. Especially the latter have helped me incredibly. In principle, I think that the first step should always be to confide in other people and, above all, to seek professional help. However, I am also of the opinion that different things work for everyone and that it is therefore important to try out different things. Conventional psychotherapy does not help everyone, and there are many alternative methods that have helped me a lot. So if you don’t find what’s right for you right away, don’t give up, but keep trying. The road to recovery is as individual as the disease itself.
Are depressions curable?
Source: Image by Jill Wellington on Pixabay Source: Image by Jill Wellington on Pixabay Today, Isabelle is full of life and knows what to look for.
The decision for Life has changed everything for me. Still, it wasn’t a steep road up from there. In the last three years there were also phases when I felt worse again. However, I had learned to get help and not wait so long anymore. Every bad phase helped me to get one step deeper in my healing process. Each phase was important to get to where I am now. Of course I feel sad or angry sometimes, but I experience these feelings in a completely different way now. It is no longer a permanent state that takes over my entire reality, but feelings that pass after a while just like all other feelings. But I have also become very careful. I pay close attention to my feelings and thoughts, talk about them, and protect myself during times that might be difficult. I have also become especially careful in choosing the people I surround myself with.
I strongly believe that healing is possible. In my opinion, however, the exact course of the path is very individual. It is important not to lose hope, to keep trying new things when you realize that you are not getting anywhere, and above all, to talk about it with people you trust. I also don’t see healing as something that is suddenly over, that you are eventually done with. For me it is more of a lifelong process where you are always evolving.
Why I am grateful today for the most difficult time in my life
Even today, I often cry when I think about the time I wished I didn’t exist every day. Mostly, though, it’s tears of joy because I’m so grateful for the life I have now. Suffering so much has forced me to deal with myself including all thoughts and feelings – as well as work on relationships with my family and friends. Today I can say that I am learning to love myself more and more and that I have incredibly strong and deep relationships with the people around me. Constantly reflecting on, understanding and ultimately transforming my thoughts and feelings also helps me to better understand other people and help them in difficult situations.
When you suffer from a mental illness, you often think you are all alone and no one understands you. Yet there are so many people who are going through similar things and are just as afraid to talk about it. Since I have been open about it, there are so many people around me who tell me that they had or have similar problems. In general, I think that we all have problems and should be much more open with it – regardless of whether you have a name for the suffering or not. You don’t have to suffer from a mental illness to work on yourself and your relationships, but unfortunately it’s often the case that we humans only start to change when the suffering is too severe. Even though most of my adolescence and young adulthood were marked by suicidal thoughts, anger and grief, I am incredibly grateful that it forced me to constantly reflect on my life and myself. For me, I began a journey three years ago that I will probably be on for the rest of my life. The journey back to me to me.