GETTING DIAGNOSED WITH DEPRESSION – A Story about Vulnerability & Acceptance
A Story About Vulnerability & Acceptance
A Story About Vulnerability & Acceptance
Your Depression is LYING TO YOU.
It all began as a small voice buried deep under my many thoughts. A voice that I ignored, even though it had been screaming at me with all its power for a long time now. This one thought that begged to be heard were words I simply did not want to hear: ‚you are not ok!‘.
‚I’m more of a realist‘ or ‚it’s just a bad day‘ – were the answers with which I responded to these inner monologues – when in reality even pessimism did not do justice to my dark thoughts and the bad days turned into weeks – months.
I blamed it on being this sensitive creative soul, a somewhat lost and over-emotional young woman in her 20s, well now 30s. But it was so much more than that. Depression conceals the irrational as reality – deceptively real – and controls your thoughts if you don’t learn to reclaim this power. The disease made me believe that I was actually fine and that everything ‚wasn’t that bad‘ – that’s what I told myself all the time. I was so convinced of this, that neither I nor anyone else could see how badly I was doing under that outer layer of me holding it together.
Pessimism, bad days, laziness & failure were the fake reality that I simply accepted as the truth for me. I was blind to the fact that this wasn’t the case, that it was an illness brewing deep inside me for far too long. But it was so much more comfortable and easier to lean into my own suffering instead of questioning it. Until one day I just couldn’t hold it together anymore.
BREAKDOWN / Breakthrough
It was actually Christmas 2020 I could no longer ignore the darkness that surrounded me more and more – I could no longer ignore that I’m not ok. All these ‚just a bad day‘ suddenly took their toll. I simply had no more strength to ignore it, neither mentally nor physically. The battle against my own increasingly dark thoughts became so hard that I could not continue to fight it alone – because in reality I had already lost this fight.
When my boyfriend asked me whether I would rather eat pasta or rice for dinner – it was exactly this simple question – I literally broke down in front of him. You could’ve put a gun to my chest, I just couldn’t give him an answer to the simplest question of all (the right answer is pasta, always). I was so overwhelmed with even the smallest things in my everyday life. Everything, just everything, involved an incredible mental balancing act for me. I was exhausted far beyond a healthy level.
I finally opened up about me battling with all these deamons to my family and friends, who never had even the slightest chance to recognize my inner struggles, because I successfully put them on the back burner myself and kept it together on the outside, thinking that this is my life now (Depression is one hell of a mind fuck! I can’t put it any other way).
You would think that things would go up from here. But this moment of release was also the point from which it went straight downhill. I no longer suppressed it, I let it happen and although everything came crashing down on me with full force, it felt so incredibly good not to have to pretend to myself that everything was okay – I accepted that I was not okay. After that we started looking for professional help. Something that quickly turned out to be a long journey of its own.
At the time I felt like an actress in my own life, not really participating in it – living the life of a stranger. I felt numb – inaccessible to positive thoughts or any form of drive or participation in life.
I could literally feel my personality being sucked out of me. With each passing day, I felt myself and everything that makes me me fade a little more, until there was nothing left but an empty shell. It is agonizing, almost painful, not to recognize myself anymore, I really mourned for myself. The Lisa I knew, the real me, was simply gone.
But this was only a part of the big picture. Much more frightening were the obsessive self-doubts that grew more and more into worrisome self-hatred. I lose myself daily in a downward spiral of negative self-talk – in which I deny myself any talent or positivity and I stand seemingly powerless against them. It’s beyond scary.
Losing what made me – which is still there by the way.
JUST ANOTHER MIND FUCK.
This self-doubt, the limiting thoughts and negative self-talk quickly made it impossible to do my job – which I love so much. I simply stand in my own way, unable to move from the spot – in a job that always came so easily to me. But how are you supposed to function in your job if you simply aren’t functioning yourself?
Weekly blogposts, which had been my great passion for 11 years, slowly faded into nothingness. Mails and collaboration requests caused sheer panic for me, as I formulated for days on a single mail to make sure I didn’t communicate anything wrong. Daily Instagram updates became an impossibility thanks to my growing insecurities – and so I disappeared from the radar, at least by today’s fast-paced social media standards. I was simply no longer visible online.
Said fast-moving online portals didn’t take long to respond to this – sinking reach in addition with sinking follower numbers. Job inquiries became less and less, as I was simply no longer of interest to companies that calculated purely on numbers. And the Companies with whom I had built up close and trusted partnerships over the past 11 years suddenly stopped communicating and moved on. I understand it, it’s a simple Business decision. But it is nonetheless one of the most bitter pills I have had to swallow. It’s incredibly frustrating and also hurtful, because I know I still have the talent to create inside of me, I just haven’t been able to live it out through the veil of depression over the past few months.
It is scary since I lost a huge part of my income (a big additional stress factor), but it was even more frustrating that I lost what I was always good at, what made me – being creative, finding inspiration everywhere & create. What this Post hopefully shows is that the latter is fortunately slowly coming back. Oh the joy of being creative, I missed this part of me so much! But I’m also scared that I somehow lost my job, by the fact that I could not pursue this for over half a year.
But after all, I will not allow that my career also falls victim to my Depression. A career that I have built all by myself over the past 11 years and have given my heart and soul to every day. I’m also learning to accept that it’s okay to start all over again – no matter your situation, age or experience level and this triggers a sense of excitement I haven’t felt in a long time.
Is it possible to have a ‚comeback‘ in an online job where you are replaced within seconds? I don’t know, but you know what? I’m going to find out and enjoy every second of finally being creative again.
It’s been almost six months now of weekly Therapy sessions since I first sat in my therapist’s office – desperate, overwhelmed, and absolutely clueless about how anyone could help me out of this invisible hell I’d made myself comfortable in over the past few years. But that’s exactly what she did.
Depression is a challenge that quickly turned out to be the most difficult one I’ve ever had to overcome. IT. IS. SO. FUCKING. HARD. Decoding every single negative thought pattern, gaining power over my own thoughts, practicing self-desciplin and selflove of which nothing was left. But it’s a battle that is worth fighting. A few month ago I was barely functioning. Dragging myself from one day to the next. In the past few months, with the help of a therapist, my family and the right medication I’ve managed, at least in small parts, to fight my way back into the life that used to be mine.
I’m in a much better place now, I can even claim some moments of happiness shining through the veil of my Depression, but I still have a long long way to go. Therapy is like so much in life – a process. But the weekly sessions are an appointment that I look forward to with a certain anticipation and makes the upcoming (years of) work seem a bit more bearable.
Important side note: I can’t stress enough how important professional help and therapy are in my healing process. I would not be at this point now without asking for help. I will continue to share my experience with therapy in the future. Please never hold back on reaching out for professional help, even if you think ‚it’s not that bad‘.
I know that I am in no way obligated to share this – hell no – but I’m so damn proud of myself and everyone else who asks for help in this most vulnareable and especially confusing state (you just don’t know what’s going on), but unfortunately it’s still a topic that lacks awareness.
I now proudly walk through the doors of the therapy office, but I quickly noticed how outsiders literally tiptoe around the office and look pitifully at anyone who opens those doors. One floor below, at a dermatologist, this is definitely not the case. Just saying.
The need for help is not equivalent to weakness, it is actual a sign of strength. You leave your ego at the door, expose your vulnerability and figure out how to fight your way back into your own life. This takes more strength out of you than anything before this. I’m exhausted fighting against myself on the daily. It demands an incredibly high level of self-discipline and self-awareness from you.
And yet, in our society, mental illness and therapy are still associated with a certain kind of weakness. A reason why still so many people believe that they are ok, that they have to be ok and hold everything together, when in reality they are not. If I can do even a tiny bit to change this, then it’s worth having this really personal conversation over here and on Social Media. A conversation that has been around for a while, but still needs to be normalized. A conversation I should have been open to much earlier for my own good. But the past is the past, I let that go (at least trying to) and move on. One day at a time.
This healing process became the biggest task of my life. Reshaping my Mindset, discovering the power of good habits and being gentle and consistent with the life I’m discovering on the daily again – creating my own version of a healthy, more mindful life.
It’s a messy journey for sure, juggling feelings, discovering the jungle of therapy and trying to see the light through the veil of a mental illness – but it’s also a hopeful one.
I learned to embrace the good and the bad days, the struggles of adulthood we’re all too familiar with, facing new challenges and entering a new decade of my life – that I can’t wait to discover – and I’m here to share this journey with you.