My Battle with Depression and How I Won
“I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountains;
I invented a brighter flame for myself. And behold, then this ghost fled from me.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche; 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'
Honestly, it wasn’t all the comfortable, wonderful, happy moments in life that brought me into the space I am today: content, self-aware of who I am, and the knowledge I am always complete and whole within myself.
Like you and every other magnificent being on this planet, I was born with the knowledge of this truth. In fact, we can't escape it. It's coded into every single strand of DNA and every cell of our being. As humanity, it's one of the several bonds we share, and it’s something that cannot be lost or stolen. Who we really are resides within us all. While in actuality it is impossible to lose ourselves and the truth of who we really are, it is something that can unconsciously or even consciously can be chosen to be forgotten, thereby constructing the false belief we have lost ourselves and therefore we need to find ourselves once again.
We forget that everything we have been seeking and searching for externally already exists within ourselves.
I want to tell you a story of my battle with depression and how I've won...
I fought horrible battles with severe anxiety and depression for over 10 years. Every morning I’d wake up lying in bed paralyzed with fear and feeling hopelessly stuck as I experienced daily panic attacks rampaging through my body. The physical sensations I experienced were similar to those of heart palpitations and heart attacks, and at a moment’s notice it felt like my heart could literally pop out of my chest.
Welcome to the entirety of my 20’s and the terrific way to start every day, NOT.
My viewpoint on life and the world around me was dim. The light-bulb inside my mind's eye hadn't just been switched off, it had been broken, shattered and smashed to bits. The lights were completely out. The reality I lived in was dark and cold and felt like a living, breathing nightmare. There was absolutely no way in hell anyone else could convince me otherwise. To me life wasn't all light, fluffy and positive, it was living hell and my rite of passage was to overcome infinite amounts of suffering for survival. I accordingly adjusted the sails of my belief systems and coasted by, viewing life, the world, its inhabitants and everything else in it through my negatively tinted “shit-stained” glasses.
What if I told you that this was the period of my life that eventually lead to me rediscovering who I really am? I'm not referring to who “society” claimed I was, but who I really am today, tomorrow and forever into the future, and that this was all done without the aide prescription drugs or any other therapies. Would you believe me?
This ten-year period seamlessly riddled with tragedy, darkness, despair, desperation and loneliness was precisely the anecdote to help me complete my inner puzzle. Without this process, I would not have rediscovered my true authenticity that lain hidden beneath layers upon layers of falsities and lies that inner child had been fed for over thirty years.
A natural detective at heart, I became intent on rediscovering who I really was at the core and oftentimes silently inquired to myself:
“What is the definition of my existence between what everyone else tells me I am, all the would-be's, could-be's and should be's, and what a culture compulsively obsessed with images of materialism and other externalizations tells me I'm supposed to be? Who am I really?”
From hopelessness and despair emerged a fiery, passion for self-awareness and I fanned these flames with newfound courage. I would rediscover the truth about who I really am. To me, there was not any other option. I could no longer live this way and the way I lived could hardly be called living anyways.
I was far from fearless, but felt a bravery creep up deep within me unlike any previously experienced. I rose to the challenge and accepted this mission to excavate beneath the surface of false beliefs and into the roots of who I really am, and along the way found out what it meant to truly live authentically and fully embrace life. I made a pact. I would no longer cruise through life with blinders on. From this point onward I would only embrace a life worth living, because deep down I intuitively knew there is so much more to life than the bucket of bullshit we have been sold.
Tremendous inner-strength is required when breaking away from false beliefs, negative thought patterns and destructive habits, but it's necessary to experience the high vibrational “truth frequencies” embedded within the heartbeat of life! It is an energetic force existing within us all, but the majority suffocates in fear, worry and doubt. The Unknown can be terrifying, and many will choose the comfort of their old patterns even when they are destructive, because it feels safer. People continuously choose lives burdened by regret time and time again because it is all they know.
We are responsible to adamantly break free from this trap of lies and choose CHANGE, promising ourselves that we will no longer idly standby while our own thoughts, feelings and emotions run us over. A conscious decision is required to stop allowing each day, week, month and year to meaninglessly pass us on by and decide that is not living.
Rise up. Claim your life and choose to life worth living. Life is not about reaching some imaginary endpoint, life is about enjoying the journey it provides, and along the way taking every single advantage you have for the chance at growth, change, evolution and rediscovering who you really are beneath surface and facade of lies.
This post previously appeared on The Good Men Project.