I’ll never forget the day. It is completely bright in my mind like it happened a minute ago.
I woke up. It was spring. A perfect, melty March day. You could hear the snow dripping off of the building. The sun was shining in through the windows of my small apartment. There were little dusty floaties in the air of the sunbeams.
I took a deep breath and felt something I hadn’t felt in months and months and months…I felt good. I felt a sense that all was right with my world. I felt hope. I felt optimism.
I felt my SELF.
In that moment, I realized that I had been depressed. I didn’t know because I’d never been depressed before.
I got dressed and took myself to a local art store. After purchasing a pad of drawing paper and some charcoals, I drew and wrote poems and CREATED in my kitchen with a cup of tea.
And I knew that it was over. That I had come out from under. That I’d thrown the blanket off of my life and could breathe again.
Please don’t get me wrong – my life wasn’t perfect. I still had a crappy boyfriend, a stressful job and no real friends yet in my new city. But I WAS HOME in myself. From that moment on, I was solid in the footings of myself.
And also, from that day on – the memory of my depression lived on in the back of my brain. I knew without a doubt that I didn’t want to go back there ever again. It’s not that I lived in fear per se, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there ever again if I could help it.
Since then I have had postpartum depression twice.
I had no idea because it didn’t FEEL the same. It was ragey. The first time I coped with my usual – cigarettes and alcohol. The second time – I went on medication.
And every fall, when I experience the natural slowing and dip of my energy…I get scared. I start counting days. After a couple of weeks, I ask my partner, “How long have I felt like this? How long has this been going on?” Nervous that it’s gone on too long and that I need to get help again.
And invariably, just when I ask that question….I turn back up.
But I’m always watching.
If you or someone you love is living with depression, please reach out. There is help. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text ‘NAMI’ to 741741 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.