I’m Joel and I have Major Depressive Disorder.
This short video gives a snapshot of what I am up against. I have learned one amazing thing about myself. Most of what I worry about never happens. I will time-travel into the future and imagine all kinds of trouble. But as the event plays out, the trouble never appears. My depression throws out some form of unhelpful thinking and I take it all in without question.
Four years later, I can often see when depression is up to its tricks
Now that I am more balanced, I must remind myself that even as I worked on this video, I wasn’t convinced that I would still be here 50 months later, but I am.
Today I lead a balanced life with depression.
My blog is giving me a chance to share my day-to-day thoughts, intentions, struggles, and triumphs as I learn to live with and learn more about depression.
Even I am curious about how I got to this point. My hope is that I can be completely honest as I work through issues in public, on my blog. I see many benefits from this openness and reality check.
In the past, I have lied to myself about living with depression for all my adult life. So I ask myself these three questions.
- Am I depressed? YES.
- Am I always depressed? NO.
- Do I always have depression? YES.
Masking it, concealing it, never saying its name. This avoidance has created episodes that have led me to where I am now.
The Internet and Modern Depression Support Groups
Coping with depression has been a struggle for so many because finding great, local support isn’t as easy as many make it out to be. But thanks to the Internet, we can now come together and share our depression stories, work together toward self-improvement, and help one another through thick and thin.
Telling my story may help others see this before they hit the wall, too.
While in the hospital, I read Meditation for the fidgety skeptic, by ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. The author suffered a panic attack on air and was diagnosed with depression. His journey forward, living with depression, is shared, in part, on the pages of his book. This was incredibly helpful to me. Just knowing that there are other people who have had major depression, survived, and thrived, gives me hope.
I can think of four major events in my life where living with depression has challenged me, and I have fought.
And in three of the four, I was able to beat back depression without having to admit I had it. Or even tell others I had it. But all of this is from the vantage point of time. I am not sure what people saw or how they remember those episodes.
Now I am facing depression a fourth time. But this time, I choose to fight. I choose to call it by name, depression, and to say, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
The truth is I do not only have depression when I can’t see the way forward. I have depression when things are going great. This has been lost on me in the past.