My Life Story Part 8: Overcoming Depression and Seeking Professional Help

In my previous blog post, I shared how the final part of my stay at the Yes We Can Clinics turned into a dark chapter in my life. I was battling depression. The days dragged on, and in my experience, there was nothing but darkness. Despite knowing that many people, both in the clinic and outside, cared about me, I felt isolated and alone.

The core of my struggle wasn’t just the clinic itself, but primarily the fear of life afterward. The thought of rejoining the normal world, outside the safe and structured environment of the clinic, was overwhelming. This fear hung over me like a dark cloud, feeding into my depression. The prospect of living without the constant support and structure I had grown accustomed to caused immense stress. This significantly amplified my feelings of isolation, guilt, and worthlessness.

This transition period, from the clinic back to ‘the real world,’ became a huge source of anxiety. It was this fear that intensified my depressive feelings, making the challenge of moving forward and recovering seem almost insurmountable. Despite the surrounding love and support, the fear of not making it on the outside intensified my feelings of loneliness and the gloom with which I viewed the future. It was a battle that was further weighed down by suicidal thoughts.

It was a time of intense self-reflection, where I felt I had been lying to myself all along and was only now discovering the ‘real’ me. What “only” lasted a few weeks felt like several months of depression. Through this experience, I’ve gained immense respect for anyone battling depression; it’s an unimaginably heavy burden, especially for those who are in this state for months or even years.

During my depression, I tried various methods to get better. Short walks in nature provided me with a sense of peace and a connection to the world around me. Listening to music served as a therapeutic outlet, allowing me to express and process my emotions when words fell short. These activities were crucial for my recovery, though I realize what worked for me might not necessarily work for everyone.

It may seem simple now to say that small walks or listening to music can help someone out of depression. However, the reality is, when you’re in the grip of depression, even the most basic activities feel daunting. Implementing strategies for recovery requires a tremendous effort and is a battle against your own thoughts that constantly drag you down. Every step forward feels like a fight, sometimes as if you’re boxing against an invisible wall.

Despite this, I want to emphasize that recovery, no matter how impossible it seems, is truly within reach. At the deepest point of my depression, I couldn’t imagine there was a way out. Yet, by clinging to small, positive habits and the support of professionals, I was able to slowly but surely leave the darkness behind. This process taught me that resilience isn’t about never falling, but about the art of getting back up, time and time again.

To tackle my battle against depression and psychosis, I sought support from the Early Intervention Psychosis Team. This team put together a comprehensive treatment plan focused on my past psychoses, which included medication as well as support from psychologists, coaches, and specialists. Their invaluable guidance was crucial in my fight against depression and played a key role in reducing my tendency to experience psychoses during this difficult time.

With this targeted help, I began to gain deeper insights into my inner dynamics. I realized I was struggling with a self-punishing inner parent, a part of me that constantly criticized and set unrealistically high expectations for myself. At the same time, I recognized the presence of a healthy adult within me, trying to bring balance and reason, but often overshadowed by the harsh voice of self-criticism. This discovery was enlightening but nearly unbearable. It felt as though I was constantly fighting against myself, trapped in a cycle of self-criticism and unattainable goals. However, this insight was also the beginning of my recovery process, as it showed me the need to change my self-image and self-talk and give more space to the healthy adult within me.

Despite the progress I made thanks to medication and therapy, my path to recovery hit an unexpected bump with the passing of my father. He had been battling Parkinson’s for years and had recently been diagnosed with cancer. His fight was long and brave, but in the end, he had to give up. This loss hit me deeply and temporarily threw me off balance. The man who had been a rock in my life for so long was no longer there.

This period of mourning and loss tested my resilience and the skills I had learned to manage my mental health. It was a harsh reminder of the fragility of life and the unpredictability of our personal journeys. But it also forced me to apply the lessons I had learned, to seek support from loved ones and professionals, and to continue working on my recovery, even in the face of this new challenge.

In my upcoming blog post, I will delve deeper into the loss of my father and how I coped with it. My primary goal is to share my personal experiences, hoping to help and inspire others. While we wait for my next blog post, I want to remind you that, even when darkness seems to surround us, there’s always a ray of light at the end of that gloomy tunnel. Until next time!

The next story I’ll share again on my Threads account >

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Floris Meulensteen
Floris Meulensteen
Articles: 75

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