A Summary of My Experiences
As I have spent time compiling my experiences of depression, I am able to note the following patterns:
- All of my depression episodes have occurred as a result of long-term stress and anxiety.
- The cause of this stress and anxiety has varied greatly, but usually it has something to do with disappointing others or feeling not good enough. Since I am a perfectionist and exhibit characteristics of OCD, this makes sense.
- The depression I experienced from the ages of 15 to 19 was the most unexplainable and hard to understand for me at the time, but perhaps had the simplest cause: heartbreak. Love makes the heart do funny things, but the loss of love can also do strange things to the mind.
- Spending time with others, as opposed to isolating myself, was VERY difficult for me to do while in the throes of depression, but it proved to be the single best thing I could do for myself besides getting professional care and/or getting on medication. Having the support of caring friends helped me heal myself and contradict the dark thoughts I was having.
- Though I have experienced a couple of tiny lapses into what feels like depression since the age of 24, I haven't fallen completely down the "rabbit hole" again--and I know my boyfriend of nearly eight years has been the primary one keeping me from falling. Having a strong, stable relationship has been instrumental in healing and maintaining healing.
- As an adult, I have never sought professional treatment for my depression episodes, largely due to the disbelief I encountered from therapists in my formative years; I have also never taken medication for depression. However, I do believe that for some sufferers, therapy and medications are the only things that work to combat their depression, and so I would never suggest that self-healing is the "right" way or the "only" way for everyone.