There is a definite payoff that comes with having recovered from depression. It's generally not spoken about because those people who have recovered from depression are too busy enjoying life.
When I say ‘recovered from depression’ I mean really, really recovered from depression. I don’t mean having felt better than last week when life seemed a little dark. No, what I’m talking about is those people whose backs were against the wall whilst being pinned up by their demons with the hand of the devil around their necks, holding tight enough to squeeze the life out of them without mercy.
And now? Now those people are 100% at ease with life in the knowledge that if the devil ever returns, they know exactly what to do to stop it in its tracks and send it packing. When you have conquered your worst fears, life is a breeze.
When I was in the ‘devil showed me no mercy’ position, I knew my choices were limited. I was also aware that time was not on my side; I needed immediate help and I needed full-on help. I have met many people who have walked this same road and have come out the other side.
We meet regularly and we talk about our lives. We clear the stuff that blocks us up first and this leaves room for rewards to flow our way. We laugh at most of life and giggle amongst ourselves. We are a contented tribe but we always search for more of life’s goodies. We know they are there, albeit in a different identity from before we recovered.
What makes us different to others is that in order to slay our demons, we have had to turn ourselves inside out. We needed to inspect every bug that was hidden under the rocks of our denial and then oust them. If we left one behind, we knew it would re-incarnate itself into the The Thing out of John Carpenter’s film.
Whilst we were pinned against the wall we didn’t feel we had a choice; it was fight or die. We had to spend a couple of years scrutinizing our every move in order that we could adjust our behaviour accordingly to bring about a better response from the world. We had to write, question, discuss, alter, grieve, modify and eventually evolve into people who were integrated with themselves.
We wouldn’t have chosen and we didn’t ask to go through this self-inspection. We did it because it was the only open door we could see at the time so we ran for it with the energy we would have found if someone had screamed ‘fire!!’ and pointed to the exit.
Having recovered from depression, I have received gifts which are sometimes beyond my comprehension:
I have an innate ‘in-tune ness’ with myself which allows me to understand what I should do next. At the same time I grasp the essence of the power of the moment and I recognise that is where true bliss lies.
I no longer have the unremitting babble in my head which condemns my humanness and rejoices only when I achieve it’s goal.
There is no judge and jury sat on the other side of the road as I walk out of my house singing ‘We will, we will judge you’ to the tune of the song by Queen of near enough the same name.
I don’t have to face the face the world any more with a ‘mask of perfection’ to cover up my feelings of isolation.
I now find that I present myself to the outside world as I feel on the inside.
I don’t have an innate fear of authority any more in the sense that I used to feel like a small child in a world of big adults. Oh, and I no longer feel guilty when I see a policeman!
I know that the future will be taken care of in spite of my best efforts to try and control it.
I let up on criticising those around me which leaves me enjoying their idiosyncrasies rather than telling them what to do next.
I know that changing my friends or lover is not going to solve any problems because my problems sit within me. This is the most liberating discovery as I am no longer passive to other people’s directive.
I am not driven to succeed materially any longer as I have learnt that feeding my ‘neediness’ with ‘things’ leaves me feeling empty.
But I am driven to discover and fulfill my true potential. A great part of that is, when I choose to, being honest about myself.
I now tell people how I feel at that moment, what I like about them and what I struggle with and why, in a way that is inviting to others. Their reactions to me are a world apart from the reactions I received as a young woman with ‘piss off’ written across her forehead.
The conversation with another in which we exchange feelings and experiences about being in each other’s company is the most awe inspiring, breathtaking and humbling interchange that I know of. Yes it is scary because, as a society, we never do it – in fact we run from it.
But, when I get the courage to converse with another in this way I feel I am at the centre of life because I am facing my most scary moment which is to show my honest self.
The payoff? I no longer fear other people and the world. I am secure in the knowledge that I am an inherently good person and I can take care of myself. I feel a vibrancy in life which fills me with wonderment. I don’t tolerate drivel and dishonesty. I only ever compromise myself through choice.
Is someone you know deeply depressed? Don’t pity them but understand that their time has come to challenge their own demons and, if they take up the challenge, they will manifest into themselves into someone who is prepared to stand away from the herd, speak their mind, give up judging those around them and, most of all, will be full of joy. It’s our little secret.