When I used to hear the word depression, I would feel a great sense of shame. It would rocket me back to the memories of being curled up under the doona where I felt engulfed in a black hole. I thought I would never be able to find my way out of. I had a sense of impending doom that those heavy feelings would last forever.
It was only once I decided to turn towards my depression and face it head on, with the support of a professional, that things started to change. It was as if I almost created a friendship, or maybe an alliance, with my depression. I was able to see that The Depression did not define my worthiness as a person. I created a specific character which was My Depression – a cartoon drawing of a silly non-threatening monster. Suddenly, The Depression didn’t seem as scary anymore. I began to wonder: “what is this depression trying to tell or show me?”
From there, with the strong support from my network of peer support groups, clinical professionals and my friends & family, I was able to listen and take small actions towards a more fulfilling sense of self and life. By observing very closely, my depression directed me towards the lost dreams and hopes that I had let go. I was reborn with a desire to make positive change. I would take a few steps forward, fall down and have to get up and try all over again.
While the journey has not been easy, I am now grateful for every challenging moment, as it has been the darkest times which have been the guiding light to where I am today. I now live in the world with presence and joy for all: the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. It is the combination of all this lived experience that has led me to become the person I am today. It has provided me an opportunity to not only heal myself, but also walk besides others on their recovery journey.
This piece was written by one of the ICLA eFriend Peer Support Workers. eFriend is an online platform where you can connect with a trained peer support worker whom has their own lived experience of feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried. You can speak to your eFriend Peer via video or phone call. Your eFriend Peer will listen, validate and provide hope. If you like, they can also assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being. Or they can simply listen.
To book your first call visit: https://my.efriend.org.au/preregistration/