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Photo credit: VinothChandar / Foter / CC BY

In reviewing an old journal, I came across the below post from October 5th, 2011. For a bit of background, I have struggled with depression for most of my life but didn’t know it until my first son was born. Once I realized what this dark stink was, I could work around it and through it. I tried many medications over a nine year period, and I got to the point where the side effects made me depressed. The irony is not lost on me. Here is a moment where I reclaimed my mental health as my own and took it as something to fight for:

I can feel the sadness. I was scared of it and now it is here. I have lived in fear of feeling this capable darkness that lingers on my periphery. One small pill steals her thunder for 24 hours and builds a buffer around me. But she never goes completely away. I feel her pushing back. I have taken a wild cocktail for so long that she has learned the nuances. She slips her fingers in and strokes my sub-conscious with cold darkness. I know you are there. I have never forgotten. However, I do not appreciate the waiting that you do.

Instead of fearing you. Instead of taking tiny little pills with big promises, unmentioned side-effects that bring a divorce from myself; I am standing firm with my lantern of hope and purpose. I attempt to drive out her fearful shadows. I embark on a scary journey of non-traditional, yet holistic balance. A look at my whole and not just the sum of her parts. All of me is interconnected by invisible webs of life. I cannot ignore one part because another calls. The calling is part of the whole. I cannot ignore my whole self because she keeps me in fear. Instead, my journey is one of faith and hope. To seek answers for the whole – to love the whole – to cherish and to protect the whole. To cradle this shattered wholeness in my arms. To pick up the slivers of my self and place them back where they belong. Then the light can come in through the seams. Then the light can fill the quiet and dark places. Because then, Depression has no fuel to build her shadows.

I have remained anti-depressant free since October 2011. Instead of relying on medication to sooth my inner pain, I have become more pro-active with my mental health. I have learned to listen to myself and to my inner wisdom, which is directly linked to Spirit. God has been ever-present in this battle for my mind and my heart to find peace. I have a self-care plan that is simple. Part of my plan is to check in with myself regularly throughout the day. I can judge what I need by where I am emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc., when I stop to listen. It is a radical step to listen to your body, mind, and spirit. Healing starts there…