17 months ago, I walked into the emergency room and sought professional medical help for depression.
As I continue my work to live a balanced life with depression, my perspective is changing. Leading up to my diagnosis of major depressive disorder, with suicidal tendencies, my perspective was measured in days, probably in hours or even minutes. Planning was not possible. My world had shrunk to the sights and sounds that I could physically see, touch, or taste.
17 months ago, my world consisted of a wall.
There was no seeing around it, no climbing over it. And most importantly, there was no way to ignore it. It was my life, and, in those moments, I could not see a way forward. This was terrifying. Not seeing any way forward, as I have written many times, I finally arrived at three choices.
Choice #1 was to end it all. Choice #2 was to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result. And choice #3, the least frightening of the three, was to seek professional medical help.
As the days and weeks unfolded after my four days in the hospital, my perspective began to change.
Yes, at first, there was still that wall. But now there was something else. Right next to the wall, offering me a hand, was hope. In the months leading up to my hospitalization, there was no hope for me. I had numbed every possible feeling and emotion, even my inhibitory emotions. There was nothing, just the plodding along. Time stood still. My day started when I finally forced myself to get out of bed.
The highlight of my day was when I could find an excuse to go to bed early.
Now I am measuring my perspective on my life in days, weeks and even years. I see a future; I see a present and I see possibilities. 17 months ago, all I saw was a wall. And even that was hard to see because I was up against it. If you can imagine me as one with the wall, that would be more accurate. There was nothing to see, nothing to feel, only plain nothing.
Now I have a new perspective on my life.
I continue to be unapologetically thankful for being alive. Even on my worst days, I am NOT up against the wall. On those tough days, I can still see the way forward. I know that I will get through these feelings. With all the tools I have collected, I understand that my path to living a balanced life with depression is not a straight line forward and upward. Even in the best of times, there will be setbacks.
Those 17 months are only days in depression years.
How about dog years? I’m not so sure how the time would stack up. I do know that 17 months has flown by and time seems to be accelerating. I am looking at life with a plan. And there are times when I am stopping to smell the roses. I understand self-care and have worked on ways to incorporate that into my daily life.