Thursday, February 1

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How depression changed my life

by Stevie Parsons



I was first diagnosed with major depression 14 years ago, but now at 62, I believe I have been struggling with it most of my life.

Life is different for each of us; what is my truth may or may not be yours. I never returned to my old self after depression.


I underwent and overcame panic attacks, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders; these still occur from time to time.

But what has changed now is how I deal with these events and how I view them. I used to think of them as “the enemy” or times that I was losing my mind. Now I use and see them as “wake-up” calls.

When these start to happen, first I stop what I am doing and breathe. That might sound crazy to anyone who hasn’t experienced depression first-hand but I think if you have, you will understand.

Stop. And. Breathe.

Then when you can get somewhere safe, ask yourself what is going on; what triggered these feelings because something or someone always do.

I try to take the “me” out of the event and analyze the event itself. If the answer doesn’t shout itself out at me, I use automatic writing to help.

My method is: writing down the question and with a pen in hand, letting a free stream of conscious writing follow. I don’t think about it, no stopping to correct spelling or grammar.

No criticizing. No reading as you are writing. These notes are for you only to help you understand what is happening to you. After writing it, I then read it. I always gain great insight from it.

As I said at the start of this article, I never returned to my old self but the truth is I feel the new me is better; more resilient.

I may not have the physical energy I used to (part of that is my age) but I am still a consummate scholar and I am using my ruminations to help me solve problems that I struggled with before I embraced my depression.

I wish you understanding and luck, if you find yourself familiar with anything I've said.

I still have days that suck big-time but I understand them a little more and I understand myself a lot more too.

You can get through it and use that strength to have a better life than before — truly.

I tell you this, because I KNOW.

***

Stevie Parsons is an HR director, chef, artist and former paralegal (lawyer's assistant).

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