I Achieve Through My Experiences with Depression 2023
DepressionDepression

Now, in my 70s, I can look back on my life and see some positive things that emerged as a result of facing depression. My first experience with depression came at a Crucial Time in my life, in my youth, and it led me to make decisions that would shape my entire life. Although I was raised in a Christian household, it wasn’t until I faced hard times that I realized my faith was my own, not just something I believed because my parents did. These beliefs ultimately led me to where I am and helped me determine whom I would marry because I wanted someone who shared my faith and values.

So, what have I learned over the years?

Depression is often something recurring, not a one-time deal.

The things that have helped me the most are therapy with a mental health expert or counselor, group therapy, and medication. All of these have played a crucial role in improving my mental health. Recently, I found websites like ADAA that provide resources for better understanding of depression. I was browsing the internet, searching for messages and websites that dealt with hard times, and that’s when I encountered ADAA. I found their articles interesting, and I learned from the mental health stories of others, showing how they coped and got help.

While we all want a “quick fix,” it’s often not the case. It’s usually a long, uphill journey where you want to go.

A Journey of Career Transformation

depression
Depression

In my 40s, I went to a hospital and kept attending their ‘work rehab’ program during daytime hours, which made office work more accessible. I applied for a position in a soup kitchen near my home, but I soon got overwhelmed by it. I wanted to do more that suited my abilities. I went to a local job agency, and my counselor told me that there was a demand for English instructors for South-East Asian women in my city. Since I had a degree in languages, it seemed like a good fit for me. I gained confidence and progressed in that position.

Then, someone suggested I update my Education to Teach English as a second language. This eventually led to part-time employment as an English teacher at a language school, where I worked for the next 15 years. So, as you can see, it was a step-by-step climb to where I wanted to be.

When you’re feeling down, acting on a great idea isn’t always easy. During my midlife crisis at the age of 40, I felt really low while being hospitalized. Because I didn’t see any way to get well, I began to consider killing myself. At the end of one week, when I was discharged from the hospital, I attempted suicide.

Despite being severely injured, I survived. Now, looking back, I can see that if I had succeeded in that attempt, I would have missed out on some of the best years of my life! Not only that, I would have been the cause of immense grief for my husband and extended family. Every day, I thank God that I’m alive!

Community Support in Overcoming Depression

For me, and I believe for most people struggling with depression, being around others is truly important. My relationships with my husband, my extended family, my friends, and my faith community have all played a significant role in bringing me back to good health and keeping me steady. In my darker days, I used to push myself, thinking I should be more self-reliant. But after a while, I embraced the emotions expressed in Barbara Streisand’s song, ‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!’

My Important Message 

To those of you currently facing hard times, my message is this – my heart is with you because I know it’s never easy. Find a good doctor who can help you. If you can’t connect with that person, keep searching. Eventually, you’ll find someone you can trust. Believe that someone wants to assist you and is out there. And never lose hope. Eventually, you’ll emerge from that dark tunnel!

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By Sara Alex

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