In summer 2019, I finally started getting proper treatment for depression. I had been struggling with depression for around eight years at that point, but I hadn’t quite figured that out until then.
There had been times over the previous years when I thought I was addressing the root issue of my poor health. In 2014, two years after I completely burned myself out in university, I finally admitted that that’s what happened. That was a good start. For me, the burnout and the start of depression were related.
Over the next couple years, I focused on my identity being in Christ, rather than in my accomplishments and resume points. I found a new counsellor and started working through things again. I put renewed effort into building strong relationships.
By 2017, I was working full time at a job I was very happy with, learning more about eating well, riding my bike to work every day, and still making counselling appointments when I needed. I was doing good things, and although I was still cycling through ups and downs, periods of doing well and periods of feeling burned out, I seemed to be managing pretty well.
In early summer 2019, a caring and observant coworker and friend pointed out that I had been getting worse over the last year. That prompted me to start seeing the decline in my health more clearly. I remembered several times I could barely sit up through a church service because that took so much energy. I counted the increase in sick days I had taken from work. I recalled asking a friend if he felt pressured to always be cheerful since people liked his cheerful spirit. I told him I wasn’t okay, but I felt I had to keep a cheerful demeanour.
I thought I should be cheerful because I didn’t think I had a reason not to be. I had a loving family, a job that was a perfect fit for me, and a church community I loved and felt I belonged to. (Thankfully, I still have those things.) I wasn’t dealing with tragedy or a life of hardship. I thought I ought to be okay.
Later in summer 2019, another friend said that through depression, people will sometimes ask, “Why me?” as in “this isn’t fair, I can’t accept this.” She said a better question is, “Why not me?” Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It can afflict anyone. I had been asking “Why me?” as in “How could this be me? This isn’t acceptable because of my good circumstances in life; I ought to be okay.”
I wasn’t okay. I needed help. By that summer, things had gotten to a point where I clearly was not managing anymore. When I started asking “Why not me?” I began to be free to stop denying my struggle and start getting help. That summer, I finally started getting proper treatment for depression. There wasn’t any quick cure for it, but it was the start of the journey I’m still on of trying to better manage depression.
You are brave and courageous! I am proud of you for fighting for your mental, spiritual and physical health and being willing to share your journey with others to teach those of us who need to better understand this very real darkness, as well as those who need the assurance that they are not alone in their struggles. You are doing good things ❤
Your vulnerability is beautiful. Both of your posts have so much truth and I am sure MANY people can relate to some of those feelings and are encouraged by your words. Thank you so much for sharing, it's not an easy thing to do.
Indeed a life changing way of thinking! Why not me??? God doesn't need perfect people, He needs people He can use and by starting to accept ourselves in our brokenness and for how we are made made, makes knowing Him in His Power, all the more worthwhile!
Thanks so much for this powerful piece of writing! ”Why not me?” I hadn’t thought of it that way. We all have our struggles. Thanks for being willing to share your story! I know your story will change and touch many lives!