For the past week I've felt a deep pull to write this post about how I overcame depression, as I know it's something that so many struggle with, and I wish this topic were more openly discussed. It's something that I have a lot of experience with, and something that I know for most, isn't an easy subject to talk about.
My goal with the work that I do has always been to share my story and the lessons that I've learned (mostly the very hard way) in hopes of making your life easier.
I remember the exact moment that I didn't want to be here anymore.
It was April 2011, 2 months after my last surgery, after I felt like I'd already hit my rock bottom, and then I suddenly hit it again.
I was back in the hospital, and had just been diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, which was something that I didn't yet understand. It was a time in my life when I felt like I should have been healing, and yet it seemed as if I were only getting sicker.
It was a HARD time in my life.
Having no cortisol spiraled me into the deepest, darkest depression that I've ever known. It felt too hard to breathe, let alone even think about how to move forward.
I remember closing my eyes while lying in my hospital bed, just wishing for the pain to stop. Wishing that I could just disappear. I would have given anything for life to feel easier in that moment.
While I wouldn't say that I was suicidal, I did feel like it would be easier if I just weren't here.
Dark thoughts are never to be taken lightly, and it was a SCARY place to be.
During this time, something deep inside of me pushed me forward, even when I felt like it wasn't possible. The biggest shift happened when I got out of my own head and I opened up to others.
While the clear disclaimer is to always reach out to a medical professional, I personally found that my family and friends are what I needed the most. I leaned on the two people that were with me in the hospital at that time – my husband, who was always right by my side, and one of my dearest friends. This friend had visited me nearly every day in the hospital since I'd had surgery, and she truly helped to save me from my own thoughts.
I didn't suddenly wake up one day feeling 100% better, and how I overcame depression was by taking it one day at a time, but talking it out truly changed EVERYTHING for me.
It helped me to see that I wasn't alone, and that life would get easier. When everything felt so uncertain, talking and speaking my truth is what gave me a glimmer of hope.
Depression wasn't anything new to me, although this was the most challenging experience that I'd had, but I think that's why part of me knew that it would pass this time as well.
I also 100% understand that it sure as hell doesn't feel like it will pass when you're stuck inside what feels like an endless cycle of darkness…but it always does.
I'd dealt with depression on and off throughout my life, starting shortly after I'd been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when I was 12 years old. Back then, I was placed on anti-depressants, which were a massive help when I needed them. During this experience with depression after my surgery, medications weren't a part of my journey, but I'm grateful that they exist for the times that they're needed.
In my belief, there is an absolute time and a place for prescription medications, and they're not something to look down upon or should someone ever be seen as "weak" for taking them.
I know that the reality is, many of you have experienced depression, and even the feelings of not wanting to be here anymore. When life just feels too hard. Maybe you're even feeling that way right now. It's something that isn't often talked about, but it's something that needs to be heard, because you are NOT alone.
Understanding this is what called me to write this post for you today, and why I continue to share my journey from sickness and darkness, to health and happiness – and how it's a JOURNEY, not a straight and easy line.
The experience of being in the hospital at one of the lowest points in my life is what started my entire personal development journey, as I never, ever, ever want to go to a place where I don't want to be here – ever again. This experience taught me just how powerful it is to shift the way that I see the world, and it's why I hold the deep belief that life always happens for me, never to me. This belief has gotten me through some really tough times.
Every medication, hospital stay, doctors visit, surgery, the crippling pain, anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness, facing the unknown, being told that it can't be done, and that I wouldn't heal…all of it brought me here.
I now live a life that I truly LOVE, but that also doesn't mean that it's always easy.
One of the things that I've come to realize is that life is always going to have it's ups and downs. I still face challenges, but now those times don't involve the risk of my own life. One could say that I've just upgraded my challenges! I now have better tools to deal with anything that life tosses my way, as I've worked HARD to train my brain to find the good in literally everything.
Sometimes life it's hard as hell, and it won't make any sense at the time. It took me a LONG time to learn to love Crohn's for everything that it's taught me, and release the hate for all that I'd felt like it had taken away. It took time for me to see that every moment of pain and darkness served a much deeper purpose, as it's what brought me here.
One of my best friends from high school took her own life less than a year and a half ago, which is another piece of why I felt called to write this post. You never, ever know who's struggling, and if you're struggling right now, I want you to know that you aren't alone.
Your light shined so bright, Amber. xo
If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.