After failing to escape my depression and anxiety, I felt hopeless. I knew that driving away from it wasn’t going to solve the problem. I made it bigger. Keep in mind that I can say this now, nine years later, because I’ve learned how to take better care of myself. However, the priority then was running away.
I spent a lot of time in a false-thinking mode. It followed me everywhere! I could not kick it no matter what I did. Eventually I was spending a lot of time sleeping, as I quickly became severely depressed. After witnessing my down spiral, a dear friend sat me down and suggested I get help. She even went with me to my first appointment. I was so relieved and grateful. Her kindness and compassion were the driving factors to me getting help. I would’ve continued to just sit in the mud. I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do. Thank God she was there.
I started seeing a psychologist for the first time in my life and that continued for a year. After quitting my job at Notre Dame and still being welcomed back, I took a medical leave of absence. I spent several months out of work and was well taken care of by the University. Still, many of my former colleagues never knew what I was going through. I took a lot of slack for not being at work. I was regarded as being lazy and noncommittal. I always heard people saying things under their breath. That was so hard for me. It was the first time in my life that others made me feel so worthless. I was close to a few of them and they never lost confidence in me. They are still in my life.
In addition to the psychologist, I also got a dog. Everyone in my life knows Sophie. You guys sure have shown her lots of love over the years and for that I am so grateful. She was the reason I got out of bed that year. You’d think having a dog, especially a puppy, would be the last thing I’d need, but it was the one thing I was able to take care of. Even as I continue living with depression and anxiety my dogs are a saving grace. During my first year of therapy, I was in some very dark places. Sophie literally saved my life.
She is nine years old now and continues to provide comfort to me when I’m going through hard times. My anxiety has already begun preparing me for her last day on Earth. I am not looking forward to that moment, but I will do everything in my power to make sure she knows how much she has impacted my life. I will be there with her through her hard times as well. For now however, Sophie is staying right here by my side.
Stay tuned next week as I share my first and only Aha moment with depression.
I just want all people to learn and grow together.