“Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s inspiring people to move beyond it”. – Nelson Mandala
With depression we lose our sense of courage and find ourselves swamped by fears, we neither inspire nor move on. Depression leaves us trapped in a world of darkness, deep sadness, controlled by helplessness, and unable to escape the deep fog that descends us, unable to find our way out of a maze with no doors, or able to walk safely along the walking trail positioned precariously above a cliff, and then to make it worse we are constantly tormented by the Black Dog that has been uninvited into our life.
As well as telling my story of being a Mum living with severe depression, I also want to write about what I have achieved to be reach this point in my recovery.
Depression causes us to lose our courage for life, but therapy and recovery gives us the courage to live. While our courage may wane and grow, once we reach a certain point in our treatment it is always there keeping us going despite the harder days that may arise. I have reached a point in my recovery where I now feel myself being more courageous in life. At what point in my treatment courage came into my life I am not sure. It certainly wasnt there through my attempts at suicide, the months I spent in hospitals and psychiatric wards, it may have helped me to go through with ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) the impact on me…..), and then there when ECT left me with no memory of the last 12 months and parts of the last three years, it had to be there to keep me going after this…..
I feel I have courage now. I have had courage to start my way down a main road of recovery, venturing closer to the motorway, I have courage to fight against the Black Dog as it tries to take me back on its journey and torment me again with deep sadness, self-talk, anxiety, and helplessness. Some days are harder than others. Courage has been with me to maintain my appointments with my psychiatrist and my GP, and in regularly taking my medications that are working well at the moment, and my vitamins that make me feel ok during the day. Courage was there helping to start the task of finding, and applying for jobs, going to interviews and pretending I haven’t been very sick and in hospital instead of steady, successful employment, and now maintaining a working week of eight hours at my desk, and three hours of train travel to and from work. Long days that courage is helping me with.
I wouldn’t have courage without my soul mate (Finding true love amongst the fog..…) who has fought for me to get treatment I needed, stood by me when I was too scared to be alone, provided me with relief when depressions was a constant torment, was my memories when ECT took mine, was my smile when I forgot how, without my soul mate I wouldn’t have learnt courage, started and maintained recovery, and wouldn’t be in the position I am today without him by my side (Finding the courage to keep going…).
I hope for those who don’t have a soul mate, family, and friends to help them through depression that they take from my writings some courage in the knowledge that you are not alone, that i understand, i have been where you are…. I hope that my words and my experiences from being a Mum living with depression inspires you to keep living, keep fighting, and helps you to continue different treatments to find the best for for you so you can start that journey to recovery.
You will find your courage with time, I give you my story as my inspiration, and with both of these I hope that we all can at some point in our life move on without depression tormenting us everyday, and enjoying time without the Black Dog infiltrating every aspect of who we are, and how we live our lives.
Parts of my storey are very confronting and some may find upsetting, if you find yourself upset and depressed I encourage you to ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224636.