Pride. A weird concept and I have an even weirder relationship with it. One of the seven deadly sins. As a German woman with Christian background I am not raised to feel pride about anything. It took me a while to work my way towards feeling proud of myself or my achievements. I still find it much easier to feel pride on people I have trained or coached than on me.
And then again, the things I am most proud of are also the things I am most grateful for. Among those things is my answer to today’s writing prompt:
I have survived severe depression.
And I am proud for it. And deeply grateful. I have never before told this in public, because I have always been afraid to be treated as mad. However, now that I am slowly turning into the literal crazy, old cat lady, who cares? I survived depression.
I have suffered from it ever since I realised what a crazy accident my existence is. How easily could it now be 100 years earlier or later and I would not be there! My grandparents survived WWII, one of them as a prisoner. My dad did not bugger off when my mom replied his pick-up-line with a slap. I did not die during my birth, and neither did my mom, although we should have. Everything went right against all odds. By sheer, dumb luck! And then it sank in that I am going to lose every single person I love. I got lost in despair.
The peak was in my early 20ies. When I faced the decision of killing myself eventually, I chose to live. I went through therapy, stopped, felt better, dropped back into darkness, went back to therapy, repeat. My son saved my life. I felt like finally arriving in my life when pregnancy and giving birth forced me to accept my animal roots. Then I learned to view my depression as a kind of early warning system. Now, whenever I feel darkness luring around the corner, which still happens every now and then, I know I have to take a break, slow down, take care for myself. And usually, that’s all it needs to stay healthy.
Sometimes, episodes are worse. Last winter e.g. was terrible. And that is one of the reasons why I struggle with making a living off my passion. In my current job, as a freelancer, it is easy to hide depression. You simply don’t accept new projects when you’re down. But let’s face it: that’s financial suicide and it only works because I have a solid client base. Maybe it would be wise to have a safety net, something like a proper job.
I’d love to work more creatively, be more outoing, write about my adventures and perform on stage. But I am terrified that I couldn’t stand being constantly exposed. However, I would be able to deal with that, too, should it become relevant. There is no point in hiding anymore, now that I shared my biggest deficiency.
To all the survivors out there: Cheers!