I am not my depression, but I have walked through that valley many times since April 2008. All along, I asked God to not waste my experience. I have been given chances to share my journey, and I hope my story helps those who are struggling in the battle against depression and those who love someone who is fighting.
In July 2007, I moved from a bustling city back to a small hometown. I had lived here before, for 8 years, so originally I was excited to reconnect. But it didn’t happen that way; I didn’t bounce back from the adjustment of moving, and I found myself in the valley of depression for the first time. Over the next seven years, after 6-10 episodes of Major Depressive Disorder (two of which were caused by the wrong medication), I found myself again on the cusp of moving – this time across the country, away from my college kids and my emotional support team of friends, doctors and my therapist. I wondered if I would adjust quickly this time, or if I would journey into the valley again. So I started blogging, to write down my previous journey, as well as my stories of the current days.
I learned so much about myself in my therapy sessions (yes, I’m his longest-seen client). That things from my past – being bullied in 7th grade, several moves within my school years, experiences of discord in the family because adjustment is hard – these life experiences shape how I think and respond to my current life circumstances. And good things count too – my parents’ example of putting Christ first in their marriage, the unconditional love of my sister, my marriage (in 1987) to an amazing man, my two wonderful college-aged kids and all the growing-up memories of fun and laughs and some of the harder things that come with raising a family.
I am shaped by my circumstances, but I was created by God who loves me completely. And I’m learning that He’s still creating me – and one of the tools He is using is my depression. If I go through it again – and I probably will – it isn’t wasted. It’s growth.
I sometimes write my posts in present tense, as if the experiences to which I refer are happening now. I do this for two reasons:
- I think it makes the post more powerful. And even though it might not be happening at the moment, it was very real and true.
- There may be readers who are currently experiencing what I am sharing from my story. I hope this gives a sense of “you are not alone.”
These are my stories of my journeys through depression (and a few other fun things, I hope!). While I am not licensed nor trained to give depression advice, I do think that we can learn from each other as we share our experiences and what has or hasn’t worked in our lives. I may tag some of my posts with “depression advice” just so that readers can find depression helps that worked for me.
Hi Peggy. Thank you for your transparency and for your bravery to share your experience with depression. In my “little corner of the world” mental health is not a subject for discussion. Therefore, many suffer in silence. Often people with mental health issues are assumed to be lazy, foolish, drunk or just treated as an outcast. Someone very, very close to me is experiencing mental health issues and it is very difficult. Just writing these lines makes me sad. I wish there is something I can do to help. Thank you again.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Celia. I’m sorry your friend is suffering. Mental illness can be lonely without friends who understand.
Peggy I wanted to talk to you about something, can you email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org? If not I totally understand. Have to leave in about an hour but will be home about 8:30 pm Thanks!
Came to visit from Blogging 101. My blog is on bipolar so we have a little bit in common. I can’t always see it, but I agree the time isn’t wasted, it’s growth. Nice blog!