Taking My Life Back

"Asking for help was the hardest thing I ever done. Getting treatment for my depression is the best thing I ever did for myself.

Depression took everything away from me - my livelihood, my friendships and my self respect. Over the course of a few years, I went from being an outgoing international professional to a virtual recluse. The symptoms didn't appear overnight but gradually worsened and took over my life. Just because the bad times were supposedly over I could not shake off the sad feelings they left me with . I couldn't out-work, out-travel or, with time, forget them. I went from a 'previous life' where I worked with ambassadors, generals and presidents, eventually to a point when I didn't even want to return calls from my closest friends or leave the house. There is a saying that 'wherever you go, there you are.' In other words I carried the sadness with me, until it had all but paralyzed me.

If anyone had told me then that I would feel this much better now, I wouldn't have believed them. But believe me, you can feel better. You can get your life back. Not only that, but through treatment, I gained more insight, relief and empowerment than I could have imagined.

Since starting therapy, I have learned a lot about depression and myself. Having depression doesn't mean that you are stupid, lazy or a slacker. You cannot buck up, suck it up or snap out of it. I have learned that I am not a chicken, a scaredy cat or a mouse. I have a real and treatable condition. I learned that it is absolutely not my 'fault' that I felt this way. Nobody chooses to be depressed. One of the most important things I learned, with the help of my therapist, was that there are actual names and reasons for the things that made be depressed, such as post-traumatic stress, survivors guilt and family history. I cannot begin to express the relief that naming my condition has brought me. Because of this information, I feel like a one million pound weight has been lifted from my head and heart and for this I will always be grateful, more than grateful. Grateful to the professionals here who helped me and grateful to myself for reaching out to them when my life was at its bleakest.

I mentioned earlier that seeking treatment for my depression was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I felt ashamed and embarrassed about something I now know was absolutely not my fault. I wish that I had known this years ago. It wasn't hard because of some bureaucracy or overwhelmingly complicated system. The barriers were my own invention, maybe an excuse not to change. However, the staff at Mary's Center were very warm and helpful they never made me feel uncomfortable. To the contrary, it was the beginning of my release from a depression I assumed I would have for the rest of my life. Getting help was the most important thing I have ever done for myself."

- Michelle (Behavioral Health Participant)


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