Is Something is Taking the Best of You?

There is a song which lyric goes like: “Is someone getting the best of you? Has someone taken your faith? Its real, the pain you feel” (Foo Fighters, Best of You). I don’t have somebody; I have something called depression that during many years it has snuck into my life tainting everything, haunting me like a shadow beneath every single thought waiting for the right moment to assault.

Yes, depression took the best of me until the point where I no longer recognized myself; lazy, hopeless, with no inspiration or motivation. I felt worthless, but this might seem like any other story unless you know a little bit about me.

I am a passionate writer (since I was twelve), I have visited seven countries, lived in four different places so far, studied abroad a full year, started at least four different blogs and I love public speaking. I am 25 right now. Many people say I have a natural talent to talk to people, a way with words and a remarkable confidence in myself. I have always had what I believed to be a normal life: childhood with ice-cream and delightful summers, good grades and compliments from my teachers, slightly risky teens with a few stupid decisions (nothing too serious), confusing entrance into my twenties and just as I turned 25 I started to wake up… Nothing extremely big or dramatic happened to me, therefore I don’t have a reason to believe that my problems were triggered by circumstances.

A year and a half ago, while I was studying in the United States, my depression struck again harder than ever and it almost took me to another place. Due to circumstances, my dream of studying abroad turned into a nightmare. All my international friends left at once, I couldn’t leave the country for vacations to see my family due to my visa status and I had an uncertain future ahead. Anxiety started creeping, bad decisions followed one after another and somehow I got involved into a sort-of relationship that turned out to be toxic and emotionally abusive. I ran out of that situation quickly (it lasted less than two months) and banned that person forever. However, by the time I kicked him out I already had a sharp pain in my chest that never went away. I couldn’t sleep, I barely eat, I started having anxiety attacks and I did nothing but lie around waiting for time to pass… I didn’t know how to cope with the situation and eventually, when I couldn’t hold it all together anymore, I started cutting myself. By the third time a blurry certainty started to settle down: I knew I was going to end up pretty bad if I didn’t stop it, so somehow I manage to gather the necessary courage for once to contact the counseling office that my campus had. It wasn’t a life saver but it kept me in check for the next months until I could go back home.

Now I know that was the life-or-death decision that changed everything.

I have been working since then on in different areas of my life, not only my mental health. I am much better although I won’t say I am cured. I don’t think one can be cured: You just learn that depression is a monster who hangs out around you. Some days it just whispers in the distance and others it screams awful lies in your ears. I hate it, but I also owe it a lot. Why? It showed me the worst I can get. It made me realize that I can feel absolutely worthless and that, my friend, that changed everything.

Now that I have look into the eyes of the beast I know my way out and, even if I stumble sometimes and I still have horrible days, it has also cleared my sight. I have never felt better about myself. I feel confident, brave and ready to fight for my dreams, ready to be the person that I always wanted to be. Having reached this point, after years drifting, I know for sure that I don’t want to go back inside that hole. Some days I forget, but that is why I keep seeking help, advice and support. It is not a path to trek alone, although in the end it is your choice.

I stopped dreaming and I started becoming.

I decided that depression is no longer going to rule my life; that the world was way more inspiring than what it let me see at first. In a few months I found a job as a writer and I started a blog where I stretch and expand the limits of my creativity and share a little about myself out there. I have become a mental health advocator and a defender of positive thinking. It is not easy, but the effort is worth it. YouTube is my new home where I try to spread my creativity and finally, I am able to look into the mirror and recognize myself in it. I enjoy life with all its perks and drawbacks. After all, I made peace with my depression because it has showed me the worst but it is helping me to get to my best too.

*****

Alba Lanuza is a passionate, young woman who decided to stop dreaming about writing and start being a writer. She was born in Spain and has moved around quite a bit; traveling is one of her favorite things to do, together with reading, eating chocolate and write to make this world a little better. Depression is her particular monster, one that encouraged her to do more and be more.