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.
 

7 comments:

susan said...

You are my hero

I shant call you Bitter

I will call you James Brown because you feel good.

Red Pill Junkie said...

You've grown wise my friend. For the greatest wisdom lies in knowing thyself :)

Possibly Depressed Male said...

I started reading blogs and health articles on depression a couple weeks ago because I think I might be going through something. Nothing spoke to me until I read this post of yours. Thank you. It has given me hope that I can take control of the situation myself.

http://possiblydepressed.blogspot.com

Michele Longo said...

Oh I think you've got it right. I too bought into the chemical imbalance thing but it just didn't make sense to me. I ended up making a lot of changes - the most important being a career change. It helped a lot. I still had depression but I knew I was moving in the right direction. I don't deal much with depression any more.

:: smo :: said...

i just typed in "animators and depression" because i totally feel ya.

this advice is some i was afraid to take. i haven't seen anyone about my depression but i think i need to. i'm trying to wait a little bit before i make a big jump but it sounds like your situation is really similar and it's good to know it helped you! i hope you're still doing well, and i'm going to read on to see what other stuff you had posted prior to get a better feel.

making big career jumps is tough for sure, but yeah, sometimes it makes a big difference! thanks for sharing!!!

DepressedAnimator said...

Its been a while since you posted...and I stumbled across your blog for the first time just an hour ago through a google search as I am also diagnosed with depression, and I am also an animator...

I have read through your posts, even all the way back to the beginning..and I really found your blog extremely helpful...especially coming from a creative persons perspective for a change...

I have had depression before, and have been medicated as well...I am not now, and am fighting to not need them....but it can be tough some days..

anyways...after reading your last post...I totally agree with you, and I truly hope you did get things to work out, and whatever changes you made, for the better...

I myself am currently battling with a number of things, and some relate to the industry and how it can destroy the passion an artist might have...and others personal...but I agree with you that it doesn't feel right that its simply a chemical imbalance, and theres a lot of external factors that if addressed could help fix things....

Ive ranted long enough...but I just wanted to give you a sincere comment and thank you...and hope all is well...

Bitter Animator said...

Thanks for the comments and sorry it took so long to publish them. I'm so glad to hear some of what I have posted here has been helpful. That means a lot, especially knowing how difficult things can be. I guess it's important to know we aren't completely alone with all of this.