I shut my bedroom door and fell onto the bed to cry once more.
I had managed to hold off today's tears until I was half way home, and had only pulled over once to try and pull myself together.
Totally dysfunctional, I felt a deep sense of sadness and hopelessness.
My self worth was below zero, I loathed everything about who I was and what I did. My life didn't match up to what I thought it should be and I just couldn't stop focusing on what was wrong with my life.
I wasn't ungrateful for what I had.
From the outside looking in, everything was perfect. I had been newly promoted, was in a loving relationship, a safe and warm home, surrounded by family and love. Depression doesn't need a reason and it doesn't mean you aren't aware of how great your life already is. In fact, there was added guilt because I felt I had everything yet I was still so sad. How did that even make sense?
I was an upbeat and positive person, so I often experienced surprise from people who knew me when I told them I have chronic depression. I was desperate to feel better and to be fixed.
I grasped at all of my usual tools, watching self-help videos on YouTube, reading John Kirwan’s book, counselling, gratitude, meditation - but I couldn't shift it.
My runs got me out of bed in the morning, otherwise I honestly don't think I would have got up. I was managing to be functional at work but I wasn't myself, and it started to show. I took everything personally and felt like I didn't give enough or work hard enough.
Overall, it came down to a total lack of worthiness.
It was self-perpetuating; depression really tries to keep you under. Some people call it the 'Black Dog', like a dark shadow that follows you around. I felt like the dog had gone to sleep on me and I just couldn't get up. It slowly crept up and became my normality. It’s like watching yourself slowly destruct before your own eyes. It had been two years since I'd been this low; it took me a while to admit it to myself.
What I did know was that two years before, when I couldn't get up, I eventually did. Which meant I knew what to do to turn it around again. Depression is a disease, and there is absolutely no shame in seeking medical treatment for it. Just like diabetics need insulin, or a broken leg needs a cast. When it came to medication for depression I knew it might be for a short time, or it might be for a lifetime - I had to get help.
This time, as I lay under the covers, I heard a knock at the door. I climbed out of bed and my partner opened the door and saw me at my worst and loved me anyway. She dragged me out of bed and took me for a walk in the sunshine - both in reality and metaphorically. It was a glimpse of light. In that moment, I knew I had to turn this around. I had to do it for my quality of life and for our relationship. Depression would surely try to convince me not to actually execute what it would take to get better, but I knew I had to battle through to the other side.
I booked the appointment, I was honest with my doctor and she saw how low and desperate I was.
We increased my dose of antidepressants and within two weeks I was on my way to getting better. That's how real the chemical imbalance was. I was at a time in my life where I was mentally depleted and needed a leg up. Within a month of starting my new dose I was able to make the decision to change my situation and change jobs. Within six months I was starting to have a lot more good days than bad. I wasn't perfect everyday, but I was capable of enjoying my life, rather than struggling through each day.
The opposite of depression isn't happiness, but peace. I was striving for peace within myself.
We all experience down days and that's okay; the important thing is not to live there, to be able to have moments of happiness and not be owned by depression.
Even if it's short term, the result of something that's happened in your life, a loss, a change. If you’re not okay - please reach out. Your answer might not be the same as mine and like most solutions it's never just one thing that alleviates a problem.
But there will be something to help.
If the content on this website is distressing or triggering, or, if you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, we have provided in contact details below for you to speak with a professional. If you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call the police immediately on 111.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
•WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757