Many people who meet me would never guess that I, a New York City public school English teacher for fifteen years, am an introvert who suffers with depression. This is a fact I only admit to when the occasion calls for it. Lately, I find myself speaking more and more about the ugly little monster that is my depression because it is something I use as the basis of the novel I am currently working on. And I have to admit that reflecting on how I have managed to continually combat this condition has truly inspired me!
For as long as I can remember, a certain type of darkness has always enveloped me. As a child and teenager, I was constantly filled with negativity, an overwhelming bitterness, and intense feelings of loneliness and hatred. I felt like there was no one in the world who understood me because I didn’t even understand myself. I hated myself for the way I was: the need to always be isolated; the dread and fear I had before attending social functions alone; and the anger I felt in unavoidable social situations. I didn’t believe in my worth as a person and suffered with extremely low self-esteem. I was quiet, reserved, angry and lonely. Oftentimes I would break into tears of hopelessness with no provocation from anyone or anything. My twin sister, feeling powerless in her need to try to help me, stopped suggesting that I see a therapist and simply looked one up for me. As a result, I did see a therapist for some time and he prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro, which gave me some relief until my situation changed and I could no longer afford either one.
It wasn’t until 2015, after I followed through with my New Year’s Resolution to exercise on a daily basis that I saw an improvement in my overall mood. But the underlying depression was still there and it prevented me from going out to meet people; it kept me from enjoying my life. Years later, I again sought another therapist when it was clear to me that depression was ruling my life. I continue to see this same therapist on a weekly basis. Unlike the first time I was in therapy, I now use my sessions to truly understand the causes of my depression and work on the tools my therapist gives me to help me overcome it and to deal with situations that may be a trigger for me. Also unlike the first time, my current therapist has never suggested I take antidepressants, nor do I feel the need for them. Instead, with the inspiration of my twin, I started listening to motivational speakers and teachers like Wayne Dyer and Abraham Hicks and Les Brown, inundating myself with words of positivity and empowerment.
It is an understatement to say that I had a powerful mindset change because of everything I was doing to stand against depression. My daily exercise, my weekly talk therapy sessions, and my own avalanche of positive videos on YouTube provided me with the treatment I needed to help me through my depression. Years later, I would include meditation and positive affirmations to my daily routine. As a result, I worked hard to maintain a growth mindset, and I let it spill into the classroom as I taught. It made me feel good to hear how students responded to my signature question: What was the best part of your day?
I found that I started to feel better, I laughed more, and I enjoyed my time at social functions. Now, I may not suffer with depression to the degree that others might, but I am still so proud of myself that, with the support of my sister and others around me, I consistently take action against something I once felt I had no control over. This is to let all of you who may be suffering with depression know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know how hopeless it may seem but life does not have to be so terrible. Take it one step at a time. Yes, I still suffer with this terrible monster but now I have so many more good days than bad.
Why this Blog?
I want to be able to help people who are in a place of despair with words and ideas that have helped me gain a positive mindset about the different experiences I have encountered. Here, I will be discussing ideas, quotes and popular expressions that have resonated with me, helping me to keep a positive perspective on life despite feeling depressed.
I hope you will find my upcoming posts enlightening and useful. I hope they will help you in a small way to overcome the depression that may have a hold on your life. It’s time to break out of the darkness. Will you step into the light with me? Allow me to help you get there. I am no expert at overcoming depression but I am an expert on what helps me get through my darkest days. With this new blogging platform, I invite you to join me. Let’s battle this monster together.
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