I realize the use of a quote from a Gotye single is closer to corny than profound.

Don’t worry…..I am not going to write about a toxic relationship where the woman kept my records and changed her telephone number. (if you haven’t heard the song “Somebody that I Used to Know” that reference will have no value)

During the 3-year period that I was not being medicated for Chronic Major Depressive Disorder, I was in the darkest place I have been in my entire life.  By darkest place, I mean I was in my head too much.  Listening to every thought and criticism of myself.

Here are some examples of those thoughts:

“I want to die.  I don’t want to kill myself, but I do feel the world would be better without me in it.”

“You’re not good enough for your girlfriend; you should break up with her so she can have someone who deserves her”

“I’m ugly, fat, and I haven’t finished college…I’m worthless”

These are just a small portion of the reoccurring thoughts I had during this period.  I’ve had these thoughts recently as well. I decided I could pray myself out of Depression and if I thought positively, I would be happy.

Chronic Depression does not go away.  

Medication can be deceptive.  While you are taking it, you feel fine. So, that means you do not need it, right?  Wrong.  My experience with depression has been a rollercoaster of being on and off medications.

Here is the good news.  That person that used to lie in bed all day and sleep 16 hours (channeling my inner cat) does not exist anymore.  I am happier then I have ever been in my life, and I can say that with confidence.  Yes, there are still times I feel a little depressed…but it is much less of a dive into darkness as it used to be.  But, that person who used to let that darkness consume them is somebody that I used to know.

Here’s something that has helped me tremendously.  Keep a notebook, or if you have a partner in your life and don’t like writing things down; use them as your resource.  

Take a mental inventory of yourself every day.

Yes, you will have bad days…..BUT make sure you are keeping track of your thoughts.  Preventing a Major Depressive episode is much easier than coming out of one.  Ask yourself, when is the last time I showered?  Did I brush my teeth today?  Am I drinking too much alcohol? Am I drinking or using a substance too often?  Have I done something productive?

Examples of such would be: Making your bed, feeding your pets (if you have any), unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the dishes if you don not have that luxury.

If you are neglecting your self care and staying in bed too long (this would be defined by more than 8 hours of sleep); these are warning signs of a storm coming.

AND PLEASE, seek help if you are experiencing any of these things.  I have learned many coping strategies from my therapist; and because of that I have been able to handle some of the most difficult and stressful events in my life by using these coping mechanisms.  I am the happiest I have ever been.  This is because I use the coping mechanisms my therapist has provided, I have continued to go to therapy, and I am on the correct medications for my needs to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

Do not let yourself suffer another day for no reason.  Read this, and hopefully you will seek help and come out with a smile.

Thank all of you so much for reading,

L.A. Johnson

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