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Personal story: Healing from depression

My journey with depression began very early, when I was 10 years old. My parents had separated and through my adolescence I slowly lost my brightness, my brilliant creative energy and all round can do attitude.

It was never so extreme when I was a young child that I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. For the most part my days were filled with melancholy and I turned inward.

I had some good years. Like, when I moved school after the junior cert. It was the best thing I ever did and my depression eased off and life started to fill with joy.

Then, at 23, I relapsed. I was stuck in a job for two years that I hated, a relationship ended, there was illness in the family. I cried every day for two months and couldn’t leave the house for weeks. I felt like a potted plant.

Taking ownership

My body felt so heavy, I couldn’t move. I decided I needed help. Nobody can make that decision for you. You need to come to that realisation for yourself and take ownership of your life. So that’s exactly what I did. For months I went to counselling and went on medication.

My days began to fill with colour. Colours and nature around me seemed more vibrant. I never realised how gray the world had become in my darkest days.

When I started seeing beauty in the mundane, I turned to art for healing. Painting was something I loved as a child but is was something that I turned away from in the past. I rediscovered art and my creative side during my healing process.

The Artist’s Way

Writing became my knight in shining armour. It’s always something I fall back on and recommend to anyone going through tough times. Currently I’ve set myself a goal I’ve taken from Julia Cameron’s book, the Artist’s Way and get up every morning and write three pages before I do anything else.

It helps process my thoughts, feelings, the world or whatever is on my mind. This morning I got up and wrote three haikus. This may sound weird, but I had a laugh writing them. The more entertaining you make life, the more fun you will have.

Taking ownership of my mental health

Now, a year after my relapse, my life is filled with vitality. I’ve taken ownership of my mental health. I take my medication every morning, I meditate every day.

I try to do yoga every day and I fill my time by seeing people who make every moment feel special. It’s a journey trying to figure out what your individual antidote is to depression but it’s worth trying everything under the sun to figure it out.

It can be fun too! I tried so many new hobbies and found new and old passions.

It can and it will be okay. In fact, I believe your life will be great.