One year ago I made a decision to speak up. People that know me understand that I don’t do this a lot (unless you get me talking sports, then I might). Speaking up in this sense was to reveal something I wasn’t really sure I wanted revealed. It was to expose something that I didn’t, and frankly still don’t, understand. It was to divulge that I’d suffered through bouts of depression. It was to highlight the fact that I didn’t have answers and that I essentially needed help. For a proud, often stubborn, and introverted person, speaking up isn’t easy to do at the best of times let alone when talking about depression. Despite the fears I had as I typed on this very same keyboard, it was one of the best things I ever did.
Even at the time of writing in February 2012 I was starting to feel better. The fall really hadn’t been great, for no particular reason but my feelings were improving. As much as I couldn’t comprehend the reasons for my depression I also didn’t have a sense for why it was better. It simply was. I’m pleased to report that a year later those more positive emotions have continued. My circumstances haven’t dramatically changed from a year ago. The blessed life I led then mixed with regular challenges is still in place today but the perspective I have on myself is obviously improved because I feel better now than I have in ages.
People ask me what’s different that’s allowed me to feel right and to be honest I don’t have a great answer. All I can point to is that now I talk. Communicating fears, dreams, anxieties, hopes, cares and values to people has made an incredible impact on me. I get to hear myself say them and I have someone who’ll listen. Believing that such a simple act could make a huge improvement didn’t previously enter into my mind. Now I realize it to be crucial. For me it includes talking to family, friends, my coach and colleagues who have all been incredible supports for me. I go out of my way now to start the conversations rather than wait for them to come to me. I also write and journal regularly. Writing has been most amazing to me as I’m more easily able to get to the core of what’s bothering or exciting me by putting thoughts to paper.
I’m not naïve in all of this. Depression could very well return. It may not be for awhile and may only be brief but I’m aware of this likelihood. Admittedly this makes me anxious at the times when I’m not feeling well wondering if this is the point where the spiral starts anew. Despite what may come, I’ve discovered a tool that can help slow, limit or combat those dreadful feelings in my head…my voice.