This is what I wrote in my Depression Journal the day I completed my 3 months in group therapy:

I know it is different for all of us … the changes we have to make, medication we choose to take, thoughts/beliefs that need to be changed … the changes to be made are one at a time … one change leads to the next.  And it all begins with facing oneself.

These were the obstacles and lessons I had to face:

1. Acceptance – It is not my fault that I have the depression. It is a medical condition. It can be treated with medication. As well as therapy to change my thought processes and beliefs. It sucks to have to experience moments of not wanting to exist but they are not my thoughts. It is the depression and those moments will pass….it is a roller coaster ride.

2. Medication – Certain beliefs can work against medication. It can be doing the job but certain beliefs I have can keep me feeling bad about myself and continue the feelings associated with the depression. I was allowing the stigma to make me feel bad about having depression and broken for having to take medicine. I had to say to myself it is okay. It’s okay that mom doesn’t believe in taking medicine. It’s okay if others will think different of me. What only matters is that I am okay with what I need to do, to deal with this, because I am the one dealing with it…no one else.

3. It okay to be taken care of. Mental disorders need the same attention. If someone suffers from a headache or migraine, they may take medicine to stop it. Especially during a migraine, they have to depend on someone to carry them b/c they can faint, be ill with nausea, lose sight, etc. They have to live with migraines for the rest of their lives and will have to depend on someone in those moments. Until a way is found to prevent.

I had to get to that acceptance. To feel okay about getting help and having those around me know I have this condition, and need help. Allow them to have compassion.

3. Letting go of disappointment. Learn to know when to stop trying and accept what is. I can only do so much.

4. Perception. This is HUGE. My feelings can be determined by/based on my perception of a situation or a belief.

5. Assertiveness. The depression shut me down and I stopped talking. Stopped defending myself. I have to say what I have to say, suffer the consequence, and learn from it. Better than holding it in and then blow up in a dark..dark state of mind.

6. Thoughts determine Feelings. We believe the feeling comes first. Start by acknowledging the feeling and change it by doing something fun, talking about it, music, movie…..eventually I will be able to catch the thought first and work on that to prevent the bad feeling. Change the thought before the bad feeling hits. This is the hard part. My medication had to kick in first….get my mood steady.
Before my medication kicked in….the only thing I could do was talk about the feelings so I could get past it..this took time. So this advice is now being worked on. Not so easy.

7. Forgiveness….slowly.

8. Co-dependency. What it means. Allowed me to understand my past experiences. The depression contributed to this happening. I hope to not do this again.

9. I use to allow another’s opinion/dissappointment in me to become my opinion of myself. Always gave weight to the other person’s opinion and neglect my own. I have to allow difference of opinion and no longer get hurt by the difference. Be okay with my view and proud of it. Difference of opinion is okay. What I consider strong can be another’s view of weakness. I will keep my view of strong … where before I would allow their view of my decision as weakness to bring me reallllly down. Suffering from depression contributes to this … the intense sensitivity… Ain’t it a B#$#%.

10. Doctor’s aren’t always right. I was advised to voice my opinion and be careful because some will push medicine based on commission. So if something works…ask for it. If you don’t like..ask to stop it. It sucks but that’s just how the industry currently is. And it’s okay to not like your therapist, if the relationship isn’t working…find someone else.

11. Last but not least….writing!!! Especially when someone pisses you off. It helps get the really B#$#%y you out on paper and calms you down before you take action. I wrote letters and sometimes gave them to my Therapist, asking for their feedback…to become aware if the depression was talking or are my feelings valid before I confronted the situation. BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!

**** Having trust in your Therapist is a necessity. They have to earn your trust. Mine took some time to figure me out and I’ll never forget that day, sat me down and told me straight, you need to start with ….. in order to address ….. and move forward. That I would not see any difference until I started with this first change of thought, it was a necessity in order to get better. Everyone’s first step is different.

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