My Depression & What I Learned About Self-Preservation

The year was 2011, I just graduated from college and was struggling to keep my boyfriend of 5 years happy. *For the sake of privacy, I will name him George.* George and I started dating when I was just 21 years old, I was a sheltered Christian girl, so there wasn’t much I knew about life then. We started dating in 2006, I started college that year. We instantly became inseparable. He had been dealing with a series of personal family issues, which later on he took out on me. I knew that George was no good for me but I wanted to nurture him and love him to health. I prayed with him, loved him, made him laugh, but the moment things went bad with his family, I became the enemy again. The relationship left me drained and mentally and emotionally abused. I even became the punching bag for his sister, which I put an end to quickly. I tried to encourage him to better himself and attend school, but he would go then stop. Then he said he wanted to get involved with music, so I encouraged school again and bought him a music kit that would teach him how to play piano and guitar.

For some reason, nothing was ever good enough. My focus on school was slipping because he would accuse me of cheating at night, meanwhile I was at school till 2am, working on my thesis projects.

We stayed together until 2011, when I graduated college, things got worse. He eventually said that I was going to leave him because he wasn’t doing much with himself. We argued about nothing all the time.. Just draining and eventually I gave up and wanted to leave the relationship. We spent 6 months on and off trying to fix the relationship. We tried to start over and be friends but it wasn’t working so we were done.

At that time I leaned on my best guy friend, *who I will name William*, who was also going through a breakup. We talked on the phone daily, which eventually lead to us dating in 2012. I had not been interested in him at all previously. And now that I think about it, I had not allowed myself to grieve the loss of such an important relationship.  This new relationship was TOXIC! He turned out to be someone who I thought I knew but I had no idea who he was. I mean I grew up with him since my junior high years. But this was a new person, he was different. I won’t bash him, I’ll just say that I was taken by surprise..

*Please understand that in no way am I bashing these two guys, I am simply speaking my truth from my point of view*

After I left him alone in 2014, my life went on a fast downward spiral due to some of the events of the relationship. I then swiftly moved to Northern New Jersey for a Design job I had gotten in New York City. So again, I had not allowed myself to fully heal. I eventually hated the job and moved back to Pennsylvania, and was unemployed.. I was finally sitting in one place; finally still. Depression hit me hard like a ton of bricks. It swept me into a whirlwind and I stayed in there spinning for two years. I did not understand what was going on with me. I had always been a really happy-go-lucky person, enjoying life and laughing as loud as my voice could go.

I spent everyday in my room: crying, wishing I could scream and run away, and feeling sorry for myself. I was miserable, to say the least: I wasn’t eating or sleeping. Early on in 2013, I had found out some news about my health and I was just sinking deeper and deeper into a dark place. I could no longer pray because I felt like God was displeased with me and not listening to me anymore. Life was hard. Nobody knew how to console me and that made me even more upset. I even would ask God to not allow me to wake up the next day, but waking up the next day I would be disappointed; but I was NOT suicidal!

Depression is something I would never wish on anyone.. Fast forward to 2015, I went to Haiti and that trip changed my life. It took me months but in 2016, I finally felt more like my old self again. I even started dating and going out again. People hadn’t seen me in so long. I still have my moments of stress and sadness and it’s a constant battle to not slip back down that road again. Depression doesn’t just go away, you have to fight and push through..

I wish I could say that it was a miracle, but it wasn’t: my trip home humbled me, then I started on a journey of not feeling sorry for myself anymore, stopped complaining, and took it a day at a time. I also got rid of people who played no positive role in my life; it was not be easy but it was worth my peace of mind.

My advice to anyone dealing with depression is to do everything in their power to eliminate negative thoughts, people, and things that are triggers. Prayer, therapy, self-affirmation, finding a new hobby, etc. I have now come to  realize that my self-preservation is more important than making anyone else happy. I am my keeper, I am my own cheerleader, I am my own  best friend.. I have to learn to make myself happy in any way possible. I have just started to get my appetite back, so I enjoy cooking now more than ever and it keeps me entertained enough. I watch whatever shows I want to, without feeling guilty. Once you’re on the brink of insanity and get back to your normal self, there’s very few things you will give a damn about. You will have to learn how to care less about others, learn to be selfish in a sense, not fully: just learning how to care about things and when things aren’t worth your peace of mind. My journey is still a work in progress, but I am optimistic that things will be ok!

If you are dealing with depression, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you, pray with/for you, or even direct you in the direction to seek help.

Thank you for reading, mon ami! XOXO

Smooches until next time!

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