Getting through Depression

A guest post by Christy Zigweid

“The best way out is always through.” - Robert Frost

The first time I took antidepressants, I was in high school. When I was first diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder, I was just out of college, newly married, had an infant daughter, and trying to get another teaching job when my husband and I relocated. To say the least, life was tremendously overwhelming. It took me a while to get help. I was blind to the fact there was something “wrong” with me. I had been an emotional mess most of my life. It wasn’t really anything I hadn’t felt before. But this time, it felt different. This time the emotions pulled me under, quick and fierce. And while I had felt them before, I didn’t know if I was going to make it out this time. I kept my emotions hidden. I convinced myself I could “help myself” out of it. But after a while, I put on the mask in public. I didn’t want anyone to know I was suffering. I didn’t want to admit anything was wrong. I didn’t know how to explain to my husband what was happening to me. Finally, I realized something was wrong and I needed help.

“The best way out is always through.” 

I finally sought help and started therapy on a weekly basis. I went through some different antidepressants to find the right one, many of which made me gain weight, which in turn made me more depressed. But I knew without the medicine, I was worse. Stress and worry became a part of everyday life. I was constantly in fight or flight mode. I had no idea how to raise a baby. I was unsure of my capabilities as an educator. And I really had no idea how to be a wife, much less manage all of those things together.

“The best way out is always through.” 

I hated when my episodes of depression would hit. Even now, when one creeps up, my first reaction is anger. I will be eating right, getting enough rest, getting exercise, taking my meds, and practicing mindful meditation to manage the condition, but out of nowhere, it comes barreling down, and every time it feels worse. Every time I am sure I won’t make it out. 

“The best way out is always through.” 

I think about this quote and how true it is for those of us who go through difficult times with mental illness. Our illness threatens to take control and convince us of ugly lies and we believe it because we are afraid. We believe it because we have heard the voices in our own heads, belittling us and condemning us. Before we know it, we’ve dug a deep hole and the ground starts caving in, taking the surrounding walls along with it. 

“The best way out is always through.”

There’s no doubt when an episode of severe depression hits, it feels like there’s no way out. It feels like the hole you are in is slowly closing and you are sure this time it will leave you in darkness, taking your mind along with it. Being in that hole of darkness is scary. Being in the hole of darkness with thoughts of suicide is downright terrifying. 

“The best way out is always thorough.” 

But you know what? I do make it out. I do make it through. While, it’s different for everyone, I think it’s so important to find what works for you. To help pull me out, I lean on support, which for me is music and my husband and kids. I have a playlist of songs I turn to whenever I need a break or feel an episode starting to come on. If you have never listened to “Anchor Me” by The Tenors (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnLN_TBTmS8), you must give it a listen. For me, this song hits home. It’s first on my list of songs when I am falling into that horrible hole. While I try to tell myself it will be okay, these things help keep my mind centered and focused. 

Robert Frost was right. The best way is always through. Because by going through, you come out on the other side more knowledgeable and more confident. While we don’t always want to go through the bad times. Sometimes we have no other choice.

During a depressive episode, I have to fight hard to make it back when it would be so easy to give up. Juliette Lewis once said, “The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” I’m here to tell you DO NOT GIVE UP. Hold on, no matter how tight, and use whatever anchor you must to make it through. You are valuable. You are worthy. Don’t quit on yourself. The world needs you.

*****

Christy Zigweid is a writer, household CEO, wife of a musician, mother to two great kids, holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education, and has been a stay-at-home mom since 2007. As an advocate for mental health and suicide awareness, she is also a fighter of depression and anxiety. She uses her words to inspire and offer hope. "A New Beginning," her first published short story is featured in Mosaic: a Compilation of Creative Writing, which was published March 2015. She also has a short story featured on Short Fiction Break titled "1,862 Days." If you don’t see her nose stuck in a book, you will likely find her behind a computer screen or spending time with her family.

SOCIAL LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristyZigweid

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristyZigweid

Instagram: https://instagram.com/christy_zigweid/

*****

September is Suicide Prevention Month. If you're interested in writing for our blog and sharing your story, please check out our Submissions page.