Down, But Not Out

All I can say is depression is a bitch. Not the fun kind of bitch that makes snarky comments and everyone giggles. It is the Regina George of mental health. It knocked me on my ass about three or four weeks ago. It stood in the corner of the ring staring at me. It watched as I struggled to my feet, waiting for the ten count and bell to sound. No way in hell I am going down without a fight.

Life threw a series of back-to-back hooks and landed a final blow with little to no recovery time between them. Three major areas of my well-being were hit hard including relationships, family, and finances. It was a lot for any individual to handle let alone in just four days’ time. I did what I had to do and collapsed.

I laid in bed for three straight days. I got up to eat and go to the bathroom.  I spoke to few people. I kept to myself. I basked in the isolated atmosphere. I let my thoughts run rampant in self-deprecation. The snowball of rumination grew into an avalanche. I felt defeated and wanting to give up.

It was time to rethink my strategy. I dealt with tougher battles than this and came out unscathed. I thought to myself, “I can do this.” I positioned myself along the ropes. I put one hand up to signal to the crowd that I was alive. With their encouragement, I slid one leg up and got on one knee.

I tried writing about what I experienced. I could not find the words or motivation. I spoke to a few friends and my parents about my funk. They provided support and listening ears, but that was only a temporary fix to cover the wound. I pulled back on my responsibilities a little until I could find my way out of this.

My enemy smiled smugly looking down. Confidence filled the air that victory was imminent. My muscles tightened in a last ditch effort to pull myself up. The crowd went looked on in amazement.

My motivation started to come back. I fulfilled my daily responsibilities (#adulting). I was getting around and even socializing again. I still felt empty and alone though. This feeling felt all too familiar. I was devoid of direction. I was lost and could not identify what I worked towards in this case. The last time I felt like this was when my ex-girlfriend cheated on me and I ended up in the psych ward. I was not going down that path again.

Back up on two feet, it was showtime. Bruised and beaten badly, I looked at my foe with ferocity. There was a definitive shift in the momentum.

I spoke with my therapist (Yes, even counselors see counselors. Mailmen do not always deliver their own mail, right?). I warned her of this dark abyss I fell into and attempted to climb out of. I often utilized our sessions as a platform to bounce ideas and develop concrete steps to overcome whatever obstacles. I needed it now more than ever to prevent a relapse of three years prior. After bringing her up to speed on my situation, she asked me the million dollar question, “What is different this time around?” I already reflected on this. I now had knowledge, insight, and skills that I did not have back then. I felt like I tried everything to undo this depressive funk. However, this was all surface level nonsense like writing, distraction techniques, and venting to loved ones. What was I actually going to do about it? What DID I do to get out of it? *Cue “I Can See Clearly” by Johnny Nash*

With fists clenched, one leg back, and arms cocked, it was time for a comeback. My adversary reluctantly mimicked my movements. As we mirrored each other, the distinct difference was in the eye – one raging with fighting spirit and the other wrinkled in fear.

I veered off track when my depression took over. The winds took my sails and steered me away from who I am. I lost sight of my beliefs, what makes me happy, what makes me tick, and the core components of my well-being. Without the gears working in sync, of course I am going to feel confused.

Slowly approaching the middle of the ring, I remained cautiously optimistic. My competitor stepped forward with fist cocked back. With a forceful swing, my challenger’s core area left exposed. I followed his blocked shot with a one-two combo. The first struck the abdomen, knocking the wind of ’em. The second connected across the face. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Feeling victorious, I celebrated the momentous occasion with a relieved smile. Like with many rivalries, I expect another battle in this drawn out war. However, I can feel confident knowing that I have a game plan for my arch nemesis. Whenever there is a rematch, I will be ready.

-The Caring Counselor


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