How do I know that I was depressed? Because I started to show the symptoms. It was still the early stage I guess, but still, it was really the worst one month of my life!
In the beginning, I refused to admit that I was depressed. I was one of the happiest persons I knew and depression was just never my thing even in the hardest times of my life. Until one night in the office, I felt so alone and so upset for no reason. I decided to Google the symptoms of depression and there I was… having to admit that I had problems with my mental health.
Here are what I felt during my depression phase:
- I tried to avoid crowd as much as I could. I only wanted to be alone. I didn’t even come to my niece’s birthday lunch just because I didn’t feel like spending weekend with anybody. I isolated myself from the outside world anytime it was possible for me to be alone;
- Lost interest in doing all the things I always enjoyed to do. I still wanted to travel somewhere in the first week of my depression, but then when I really had the chance to solo travel, I decided that I didn’t want it anymore;
- I started to question why I should live longer. It’s not that I wanted to die, it’s just that I was not interested to keep living like this anymore. I was sick of the same old problems over and over. The thought of having to deal with those nightmares in my entire life had really killed me from the inside. I didn’t feel alive anymore, somehow;
- I felt empty, incredibly sad, angry to myself, and what was even worse, I felt hopeless. I started to stop believing that things would ever change. I started to think that maybe, happily ever after was just not meant to be for me;
- I started to find how worthless and unlovable person that I was. I was trapped in that dark thoughts blaming myself for keep failing in so many past relationships (in friendship, romantic relationship, and even at works, sometimes). It felt like I had tried everything in my power but none of it took me where I wanted to be; and
- Someone else’s compliments didn’t please me anymore. I was very much inconsolable.
I am thankful that I quickly recognized that I was depressed. The first step of every problem solving is to admit that we have problem in the first place. Started from there, here are the efforts I did to get out of that depression:
- Find a friend to talk to. Yes, I was sitting alone on my bed at home, but I still tried to reach out my friends (phone calls and WhatsApp) just to talk about my feelings. And it really helped me to gradually feel better;
- Keep doing what I always do best: my job. I tried to stay focus and stay on top of my works knowing that I would only feel worse if I screwed up that one thing I was always good at. I just couldn’t afford anymore failures and apparently, all the positive results I got from my hard works eventually made me feel positive about myself. Little by little, I earned my self worth back to me again;
- I tried to dig the root cause of my depression. And this was the hardest part because apparently, it didn’t always take one big problem to make us depressed. The accumulation of small problems I tend to ignore was piling up until at some point, I just couldn’t take it anymore;
- Piece by piece, I started to find similarities between all those small problems that gradually irritated my feelings inside. And the funny thing is that, the root cause of my depression was already happening since one decade ago! What happened ever since only worsened that one problem I buried deep in my past;
- I started to make a solid plan; a plan that will take me a couple months just to get it done. It will take times, but still, coming up with a good plan already made me feel much better! I felt better and better as I started execute my plans with a great determination to get done with my unfinished businesses;
- Until I complete all my plans, I decided to focus more on all the good things in my life instead of the bad ones. I started to redefine my value and I told myself, “No matter how much flaws I have in me, it doesn’t diminish my value as a person.” When I was depressed, I judged that 2018 was a bad year to me. But then as I started to see at the bright sides, I quickly realized that I had good times in 2018 a lot more more than the bad ones. I started to wonder, “What am I complaining here?”
- I started to reconnect with my friends and families. I decided to go out there and I had a lot of fun along the way! Having great times with the loved ones has really distracted me from all the sorrows. I was just too busy to think of my problems;
- I started to sincerely let go of the things I couldn’t control. I didn’t want to insist, I’m just too tired of fighting something I cannot change. If my very best effort was never enough and there was nothing more I could do about it, then I just need to move on. I have to know that just because I’m about to close my problems with my past, it will not automatically solve my problems in the future. I will lose again, and I only need to be okay with it;
- I persistently pursued to close my problems back in the past even when I already felt a lot better about myself. That unfinished business is like a ticking bomb… sooner or later, it will only explode and hurt my feelings again. Just wait until I have another trigger and I will only fall to that dark place again. I hope by solving my unfinished businesses will help me to get through the hard times that are inevitable in my life; and
- I prayed, and I felt better. A friend of mine talked to me about her problems and she said, “I couldn’t imagine how I would feel right now if I didn’t even believe in God. My prayers have strengthened me to get through this rough times in life.”
For some cases, meeting a psychologist will most likely help. It helped me once, but this time, I knew that the only person who can saved me was myself. No matter how hard other people tried to drag me out of this depression, it would mean nothing unless I was determined to help myself. I knew I could help myself and I couldn’t be happier that I was right.
One other thing I’ve learned from this phase is that depression can happen to anyone of us. No matter how happy and successful our life is, it doesn’t mean we’re depression proof. And in fact, people who have achieved a lot in their life are even prone to depression because they had to deal with many obstacles that might have left wounds deep in their heart. I don’t know if there is anything we can do to prevent this episode in our life, but at least, now I know what to do when I get to that dark place deep on my mind.
Now it’s a shame for me to admit this episode. I’m even proud to tell the world, “I was once depressed, and I pulled myself out of it.”