Depression will always be a part of my story.
It will always be something I have to be aware of, and something I have to consciously choose not to succumb to.
Staying in this life was never a natural choice for me like it seems to be for many people. But it’s a choice I made after trying (and failing) to leave when I was pretty young.
I went many years without experiencing any noteworthy levels of depression… until last summer. Last summer, for the first time in decades, depression pulled me under in a way it hadn’t since I was a teenager. It grabbed hold of me quickly and furiously.
I didn’t want to be here.
I had thoughts about leaving.
I felt like a hollow, empty, broken shell.
I had lost sight of myself. In my relationship, in client work and projects, and in a world I’ll never fully belong to. I was drowning in a heaviness that felt impossible to claw my way back from.
I had to do the work to pull myself out, slowly and intentionally. I had to get honest about where I was, what I needed, and what wasn’t working. I had to put myself first again in all the ways I’d let slip. I changed my diet, adjusted my routines, moved my body more, and stopped pretending everything was okay when it wasn’t.
Because healing is a choice—and a hard one at that.
We have to choose to do the work when everything in us wants to give up and fall apart. We have to decide to show up, take the necessary actions, and continue participating in our lives when it feels impossible just to get out of bed. We have to feel the feelings we believe will consume us, trusting that we will come through the other side stronger and more aligned than seems likely. And we have to ask for help.
Healing, finding a new sense of wholeness, and rooting more deeply into our purpose is always available to us. No matter how far gone we seem. No matter how impossible life feels. No matter if it looks like we’ve taken 10 steps backward (because healing is never linear and life will always have highs and lows, no matter how much we grow).
We just have to choose it, and continue choosing it even when we fall flat on our faces. Even when it hurts, especially when it’s hard.