Not even Trent Reznor could make a hit song out of this ….
I want to share a story with you all. It’s about something that impacted my life and caused more hurt than I ever imagined. Depression, the silent killer. Sadly, by the time I realized I lost my grip there was nothing left for me to grab hold of.
What if I told you that I spent nearly five years perfecting my body and mind. I was sculpting and improving myself physically and mentally day in and day out. Pushing past the pain, blood, sweat and tears because the results were real. I felt myself change into who I believe I could be. I worked this hard because I found myself in body building. I was meant for this. I actually found my passion in life. Something other than self destruction and substance abuse. There was not much second thought to what my daily agenda included: work, gym, eat, sleep. It was almost as easy to do as my alcohol abuse. The thing is, body building made me feel amazing inside and out. No more headaches, fatigue or depression. I became a one woman wolf pack. Confident, focused, strong and even more independent than before. Changes happened physically but quickly to follow was my mental health. I noticed that the Brain I had been carrying around my whole life was worth a crap. Why would I ever quit, right? That’s what I thought too. I had over come so many obstacles and I was never deterred. I was mentally stronger than everything that tested me. That was where I made my mistake. I got cocky. I think this part of me didn’t think that I could be touched by human emotions. I somehow became stronger than my mind, or I so ignorantly thought. I lived my life day by day for years. I only had myself to think about and I thought it was perfect that way. Until I met the man that made me think about my life in the long term. I started to make changes that would be beneficial to my future. I added growth, experience and income to my radars. I felt out of my element but started making decisions using ” smarter long term” thinking. There I was two years into better life decisions and I was still kicking butt and taking names. That was until decisions came with life and comfort changing circumstances.
I put myself in a position that seemed to be the most beneficial to my life and happiness. A new job, less commute, a genuinely appreciative boss and a leadership role. I felt confident that leaving the job I loved would be a thing of the past with this new and exciting opportunity. To my dismay, this was not how it played out. I soon realized that I was mislead from what I understood my job to be. It was a nightmare. I had gotten myself into a worse situation despite all of the positive reasons on the horizon. It was that way of thinking took over me. It consumed my every waking thought. I blamed myself. I bullied myself for taking worse, “better” opportunities. I battled myself mentally at work all the while my food went to waste. My body was a machine for years, serving me well on my daily grind. I never neglected to fuel myself and was unaware of what devastating effects an empty gas tank would do to my life. I began to feel the effects when I became unable to eat my meals and I was working open to close five days a week. I was mentally and physically fatigued, weak and ultimately lead me to start skipping the gym. I was so abusive to myself during this time, I couldn’t make sense as to why I was so mean to myself, knowing I didn’t have anything to bring to the gym. I would beat myself up for skipping a workout, even if it was warranted.
Here comes logical brain speed walking to save the day… My logical response to lack of body fuel, exhaustion and mental abuse was to take off some time from lifting with hopes of reducing mental anguish inflicted on myself, by myself. I was tired of being a huge dick to myself all the time.
Four months and twenty pounds later…. I didn’t know who I was.
Every day I struggled to look at myself. I was disgusted by my appearance. I felt haggard and weak. I hated everything about myself. I was so deep in depression that I wasn’t even expecting to come out. I didn’t care. I was a dead shell of a woman, not even a reflection of my life was visible. In my mind I was already dead. I woke up everyday and completed chores, job duties etc. but I wasn’t actually in control. Walking depression is how some of the population suffer. Those of us who don’t have the ability to make our lives stop completely, learn to go through the motions instead. The most alive I felt was when I cried because the constant day dreams of being physically dead made me feel emotions that I had felt in months. I couldn’t understand why I felt nothing for the people and things that I thought I loved more than myself.
Imagine going to bed wishing you wouldn’t wake up. Imagine driving to work and day dreaming about being in a fatal accident. Just imagine…. I felt nothing but sadness and pain. I enjoyed nothing. I couldn’t even make myself feel emotions towards my boyfriend, dogs, friends and family. I lived in a menta prison for months. If I had been a weaker person I could have justified ending my own life because those dreams brought me a eerie comfort and contentment. Although depression Erica wanted to be dead in all my thoughts and dreams, that was not something I could ever do. I knew that to be true. Maybe that’s why I cried so hard over those feelings of death? Maybe I cried because I knew it wasn’t right to feel comfortable with dying? Maybe I cried because I didn’t know what to do? I didn’t hide my depression. I spoke with a few close to me that understood depression from experience. I tried to explain how I felt to others, in hopes of making them understand how depression functions. I never once felt like I should spare someone’s discomfort by lying about “how I was doing” Their reaction and response to ” well, I’m depressed and struggling” generally yielded hurried, regretful gestures and responses. I grew an even larger resentment for social events because of how many conversations and interactions are simply for gaining social status. It also made me sad knowing how many people are struggling with depression but won’t ever get a legitimate opportunity to be heard.
Unless you yourself have battled depression, you can not begin to imagine how deeply embedded in your life it is. You cannot “feel better” you can not be “un-depressed”. Just “being positive” isn’t enough to heal either. Singing “kumbaya” around a campfire doesn’t actually work. It does not make me or anyone like me weak. Living with depression day in, day out make us some of the strongest. The fact that we force ourselves to work, to the store and other social events while feeling nearly nothing that makes us human, is incredible. Do not judge what you cannot see or do not understand. Every person battling depression on this planet deserves freedom from judgement and the pre determined “personality flaws” that society has chosen.
I overcame. There was no magic, no pill, no easy answer for how I have slowly beat my depression. The only time I can truly say I felt hope was after months and months of struggle when I had a thought of truly saying ” fuck it” , to my job, relationship, friendships and goals. It was that thought of actually saying fuck it that triggered a spark of anger in me. “I do not give up and I will not let this win.” The real me got through to depression Erica. It has been an epic mental battle this year and I am tired but not ready to let my guard down. I still have healing to do.
- Obviously I didn’t die because I’m here talking about my life
- I’m not going to talk about or include details about my battle out of depression because there are some things that should be kept personal
- I promise there’s no secret to anything I’ve done
- I am forever humbled and I will not think I am stronger than a disease
- I will never have that time I lost, back. That saddens me more than you will know
- Beating depression basically required me to completely crumble and fall. Then I got lucky and somehow I saw my chance to rebuild
- I have never been so determined to completely rebuild myself stronger than before. Starting with my mind and following with my muscles
- Getting back to body building has been therapeutic and I wish I could’ve seen past the depression long enough to reap the benefits
- I have purpose again
- I have goals again
- I still have low days but feel as if I can make it through because nothing was as hard as the last six months or so
- I am truly blessed to have the support of the few people who stuck with me
- Taco and I were meant to save one another. He came to me right before the worst depression hit me. He was my reason for living and he became my life when I felt like mine was lost
- We are not worthy of the unconditional love, loyalty and happiness dogs give us