The year was 2016; I was in my room and had just woken up from a long slumber. The first thing I could see is my gray ceiling. The fan spinning its wings, blowing cool air on my hot face. All I felt was numbness. The thoughts in my mind whispered to me all at once, some in hushed voices, others in loud voices until it all became static. I let out such a heavy sigh that morning. I was only up for about five minutes and I wished that I had not. I remember gazing at the ceiling, beyond the popcorn pieces that covered it and saying to myself, “Why did I even wake up? Why am I here? Why could I not have died while I slept?” 2015-2016 was the lowest point in my life because I was experiencing a state that many have or are currently going through, depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), it states, “around 16.1 million adults ages 18 years or older in the U.S has experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year… Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44” (Understanding the Facts: Depression Para 4). When you think about it no matter where you are at, there will be at least one person fighting that internal battle with themselves. Depression comes in many forms and through many factors, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, a traumatic experience and many more.All of these factors can result in sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. What depression was for me was a form of myself that I did not like. For that version of me, her main objective was to deceive and destroy me. Overcoming anything let alone something as great as depression, takes a lot of strength and faith and a great support system. I experienced something where I honestly did not know if I was going to make it out of the dark abyss. There were significant things that I had to do in order to get out of the state I was in and never look back.
1. Realization/admitting. One thing people do not take the time to do is to evaluate themselves. We always ask a fellow sister or brother, “Are you okay?” However, we never ask ourselves that. We do not ask ourselves enough. We make sure everyone is solid, but we let ourselves deteriorate in the process. We see the signs, but we shove it in the back burner of our minds, thinking it would never resurface. I did the same for many years. It was not until I had that experience where I really asked myself why I could not just DIE. I had the realization that I am depressed that I am not happy. Once you realize and can admit that you have a problem, you won half of the battle.
2. Beware of the devices. Once you realize that you are in fact at a state of mind that is not your usual state, which it is very depressive; take note of the things that you do. Many devices that you may be using are actually masking the actual problem. For example, your occupation can be a device. You pick up extra shifts, you work overtime, and you live at your job instead of tending to your family or going home. At the beginning of 2016, on New Year’s Day, I woke up in the hospital after a complication I received from the year prior. I woke up very sad. Sad at the fact that I woke up to being confine with fluid and IV needles stuck inside me. The RN prescribed me a painkiller so I can cope with the pain, but I abused the painkiller and slowly became addicted to the feeling of euphoria it brought me. That 25-minute high that it gave me made me go through my day. I would even smoke weed and mix it with hard liquor to amplify the high, but that high never lasted forever though I tried everything to make it true. I would lie in my bed at night and the negative effects would haunt me. The voices, the feeling of worthlessness and guilt pulsed through me. Instead of weeding the situation, I would distract myself through work in order for me not go home and sleep in my room. I would have a shift of opening and I would ask if I could close. I would overwork myself so I could hide from the battle that awaited in my room. Another form of devices could be music, and for me, that was a big thing. Our ears and eyes are like the windows of our soul, so what we see and what we hear every day, it can plant something within ourselves and it could be detrimental and or beneficial. I would listen to the most depressive music with lyrics that were a cry for help if I played it to someone else. The artist would express the pain I would feel and they would say to pop this to do that and I would, not because I was dumb, but pressing and listening to it repeatedly made it come to pass. Watch out for the lyrics, it does not make sense to be going through depression and you are blasting artists that are glamorizing suicide or cutting themselves.
3.Talk to someone. Whether it is a family member, first lady of your church, pastor, a close friend or even a licensed professional. Seek help. Vent to someone. Talk to someone you trust. I felt like not talking about my problems was the best solution to my own problems. What I did not know was that when we talk to someone about a problem we have we are actually confessing that problem, that situation and we are setting ourselves free from it. When we bury our problems, it is never handled, its just stored in a pile of other situations that have not been dealt with yet. All it takes is a situation big enough to ignite the pile, causing a mental/emotional breakdown. Talk to someone to set yourself free. You will be surprised how you feel when you pour out what you have been keeping in for so long.
Give it all to God4. . Throughout my life, this big, dark, cloud loomed over my head every time I walked. It was not until I had an emotional episode that I knew this was not me, this was not the Chavelita I wanted to be. I decided to give it to God, my father, my comforter. By giving all my burdens, all my insecurities, all my anxieties, my negativity. Not only did He remove these attributes and vices, but He also replaced them with things of Him: positivity, sound mind, and most importantly, peace. You never know the significance of peace until you experience internal chaos.
To those who won the battle with depression, I am truly happy for you. You are a warrior. You are a conqueror . To those who may be suffering or who may not know that they may be going through this, ask yourself. Evaluate everything that you do. To those who are in the state where you just do not care to know or even care at all, I am here for you. Your loved ones are here for you. You will think everyone is against you, that you do not have a purpose; that thought is lying to you. You are enough. You are powerful. You are loved. 300-400 million sperm fight to make it to the egg in order to be fertilized, out of 300-400 million; it was you who made it out. You won. You opened your eyes today because you have a purpose.