May you read this and know that you are not alone. You are not alone. You are NOT alone.
January 3rd, 2012. A day that can feel like just yesterday or a lifetime ago. A blur. A daze. A moment in time singed into my memory forever.
I was working at an awful soul-sucking job, my creative life was nonexistent, I was in denial about my drinking, and freshly heartbroken for the first time ever.
Somewhere in between the constant drinking to numb my frequent anxiety attacks and the mental shambles of being in love with a narcissist, the load had become too heavy and under the immense stress, I broke. I suffered a full-blown nervous breakdown at work that I only remember in bits and pieces. Inconsolable crying while working. Claiming and actually believing that nothing was wrong. Shaky hands that kept dropping the telephone. The inability to breathe. My stomach grunting from the alcohol I consumed on an empty stomach. My mom at the foot of my bed. An ER. Another ER. The surreal memories end with me in a psychiatric emergency room where I was eventually admitted. I stayed in the psychiatric ward for ten days in various states of shock, denial, excuses, and finally acceptance.
I left the hospital with a diagnosis of depression/anxiety. I’m no longer depressed but anxiety is something that I still deal with. I’ve been able to establish an arsenal of tactics that effectively keep it at bay but I made a promise to myself that I would seek help and explore other options should they ever become ineffective.
It took a ton of inner work and a gargantuan amount of therapy to crawl out of that period of my life, and the thing about mental health is that there is no “one size fits all” treatment. What works for person A can be completely unhelpful for person B.
Depression is ruthless and the climb out of that dark abyss was treacherous but somewhere along the way, I realized that most of the experiences that made me feel isolated and completely and utterly alone weren’t actually unique to me. They were symptoms of depression or anxiety, symptoms that I kept concealed out of fear and shame that nobody would understand. These were the very things that bonded me to others in our collective experience of depression. The ones that talked back to the monster. “See, I’m NOT alone”
I suffered in agonizing silence before unearthing the biggest cliche, I was never truly alone.
I don’t share my story to hear myself speak from a self-righteous soapbox that made it out the other side of depression. I share my story to possibly plant a seed of hope in someone who may need it.
And perhaps I share my story to continuously remind myself, you are not alone. You are not alone. You are NOT alone.