I suffered from depression for a long time. If I had to try to pinpoint when it started, I remember when I was around 12 years old I had my first anxiety/panic attack. Then when I was 14 years old, my sister went off to college and my brother was sent to prison for 4 years. I felt alone. My parents sent me to see a therapist who prescribed me an anti depressant medication that I never took. I am not advocating that if you have a problem with depression, you shouldn’t take medication but I was young, stubborn, and even to my own detriment, too proud. I told the therapist what I thought she wanted to hear in that first session and I never went back.
I went through the next 4 years of high school with depression always lingering in the back of my mind but I managed it. Some times were worse than others. I had friends, sports, work, school, and an active lifestyle. So I was able to manage it. However when high school ended and my friends moved away to college, I began to realize I had nothing in my life. I had nothing going for me and nothing to live or strive for. No goals and a bleak future. My depression came back in full force. There were other factors that contributed to this like being in debt, having no money, and not having a good job. My depression was to the point where there were days I couldn’t even leave my bedroom.
Depression was a cycle for me. I was depressed because my life wasn’t good, and my life wasn’t any good because I was depressed. Of course everyone is different but for me, I believed my depression was a manifestation of my negative thinking and my life circumstances. Not a brain chemical issue. Therefore, I felt that I could beat my depression if I changed my life.
When I found out that I had a son on the way, I had to work on fixing so many things in my life. Once I got to work on changing all of these things, I had stopped thinking about how miserable I was. Whatever was inside of me that had the power to beat the depression was there all along. It just never had any strength to rise up when I was constantly giving into my negative thinking. I just needed a sense of purpose in my life. Inspiration. Something to live for. That could mean different things to different people. For me, it was becoming a father.
After I realized that I had something to live for, my mind began to focus on all of the things that were right in front of me that needed my attention. This caused my depression to erode. It didn’t go away instantly but it slowly eroded. I was no longer sulking around in my bedroom because I was now working on achieving these goals for my son. Each goal accomplished was a confidence boost which built momentum and contributed to the erosion. Before I knew it, by the time my son was born, I had a live worth living and I was smiling again.