Sunday, May 26, 2013

I was depressed. Now I'm not.

So I did EXACTLY what I used to be told not to do while experiencing depression. Here's how it went...

I was feeling that familiar darkness, clouding me, pushing me further away from the real world. That's often how it feels - like I am retreating into somewhere deeper and there are barriers between me and life. Not just barriers. Dark clouds. 

It was depression, no doubt about it. I know it all too well.

I was afraid. Mostly because I don't think I have ever emerged from depression in less than a year. Sometimes much longer. I didn't want to end up lying on my bed in the foetal position but I also didn't want to end up on that long medication road. I hate that road.

I have long felt that depression is situational. A reaction from deep within our core telling us that something is just not right with our life. That could be something huge and obvious but it rarely is,  which is why often we don't know what's wrong. Often, I think it is the effect of a long-term discontentment. Got to be honest, I'm not sure I buy the chemical imbalance thing but that's a discussion for another post.

One thing I was told many times while being treated for depression was not to make any life-changing decisions. Don't get married. Don't move house. Don't buy a boat. But if depression even had the slightest chance of being situational, that advice prevents you from tackling the actual cause in any way. 

This time, I ignored that advice. I made a change. A massive change.

I did something that should increase my stress and my worry - I removed the security I had in my career and set myself on a new path. An unknown path without a worked-out plan. I put myself in a situation where a life change is unavoidable, even if I wanted to back out. I blew up my old world and must now find a new planet. Metaphorically - don't worry, I didn't actually blow anything up.

Getting to the decision to make that change was horrifying.

But once I went ahead with it, those dark clouds lifted. My situation changed. I feel better. And I have never once before seen depression lift so fast. Ever. 

I feel good. 

Sure, I now have major challenges ahead. It's not going to be easy. It may not even work out. But it's exciting and it feels right. It feels so right. I wondered if it might just be a momentary rush of excitement but, no. This is right.

Depression often feels to me like the long-term cumulative damage caused by even a slight unaddressed discontentment. If I am right, then the solution is to change the situation. Exactly the opposite of the advice I have been given over the years.

I feel good.