The first time I really knew I had depression was while I was studying to become a psychologist. I couldn’t stop crying.

I went to the doctor who told me I needed antidepressants. I told her I didn’t. I’d been having cognitive-behaviour therapy for my mood and excuse me but I was studying to be a psychologist. As if somehow that made me immune.

She gave me a sample pack of Efexor, one week’s supply. I took it and stopped crying within 2 days. I went back in a week and she didn’t even have to ask if they were working. I was a different person.

I’d been on antidepressants before – years earlier I’d taken tricyclics that made my hands shake and my mouth go dry. I didn’t really believe I had depression back then but they made me feel better mentally if not physically, so I took them for a year.

As soon as I stopped I went downhill again. I still didn’t understand. Looking back I’d had episodes of major depression a number of times, undiagnosed. I thought it was just the way I was.

I made no allowances for my low mood, or the anxiety that went with it. I kept pushing myself, even though I’d had to drop out of school, even though I got the sack from my first job. I thought it was just my lot in life because I was faulty.

Any problems I had growing up were attributed by my adoptive parents to my genetics. They were very public about this, telling anyone who would listen. I didn’t understand then that I was surrounded by personality-disordered people, people who were so damaged they couldn’t love anyone.

I thought I was faulty, and everyone knew.

In the years since, I have received treatment for depression, anxiety and trauma. In the process I let go of the story that I was faulty. That’s all it was, a story…someone else’s story. I also let go of the people who told me that story.

From the emptiness that was left, there emerged a new story, one that doesn’t require antidepressants and therapy to live with.

When we let go of all that depletes and diminishes us, we make space for the truth to emerge. This is how we heal. This is where life begins.

 

Welcome to all the women who have already joined the circle to shed old stories. If you are being called towards us, click here for the magic of release and re-emergence. We start Monday.

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