Taking ownership and healing from depression
A young woman’s personal story tells us how she learned to take ownership of her own mental health and navigate her way through depressive episodes.
My journey with depression began very early, when I was 10 years old. My parents had separated and through my adolescence I slowly lost my brightness, my brilliant creative energy and all round can do attitude.
It was never so extreme when I was a young child that I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. For the most part my days were filled with melancholy and I turned inward.
I had some good years. Like, when I moved school after the junior cert. It was the best thing I ever did and my depression eased off and life started to fill with joy.
Then, at 23, I relapsed. I was stuck in a job for two years that I hated, a relationship ended, there was illness in the family. I cried every day for two months and couldn’t leave the house for weeks. I felt like a potted plant.
My body felt so heavy, I couldn’t move. I decided I needed help. Nobody can make that decision for you. You need to come to that realisation for yourself and take ownership of your life. So that’s exactly what I did. For months I went to counselling and went on medication.
My days began to fill with colour. Colours and nature around me seemed more vibrant. I never realised how gray the world had become in my darkest days.
When I started seeing beauty in the mundane, I turned to art for healing. Painting was something I loved as a child but is was something that I turned away from in the past. I rediscovered art and my creative side during my healing process.
The Artist’s Way
Writing became my knight in shining armour. It’s always something I fall back on and recommend to anyone going through tough times. Currently I’ve set myself a goal I’ve taken from Julia Cameron’s book, the Artist’s Way and get up every morning and write three pages before I do anything else.
It helps process my thoughts, feelings, the world or whatever is on my mind. This morning I got up and wrote three haikus. This may sound weird, but I had a laugh writing them. The more entertaining you make life, the more fun you will have.
Taking ownership of my mental health
Now, a year after my relapse, my life is filled with vitality. I’ve taken ownership of my mental health. I take my medication every morning, I meditate every day.
I try to do yoga every day and I fill my time by seeing people who make every moment feel special. It’s a journey trying to figure out what your individual antidote is to depression but it’s worth trying everything under the sun to figure it out.
It can be fun too! I tried so many new hobbies and found new and old passions.
It can and it will be okay.
In fact, I believe your life will be great.