I've been in the most extended and darkest period of my life.
We all have different walls in life that we might hit. It might be the wall of too much work, a midlife crisis, a destructive relationship, or another reason, but most often stress-related.
Three months ago, I hit the wall of depression, and I mean the Mother of all Depressions. Like a mosquito hitting the windshield of a car going 100 miles per hour, except I didn't die. Instead, I was slowly gliding down against the wall…
But let's rewind the tape to where it all started. In the middle of July, I said yes to going to Barcelona for a weekend with a couple of friends. My stomach feeling was screaming out loud: Do not go on this trip. I didn't understand exactly why. From the moment the trip got booked to the departure two weeks later, I had a stressful feeling in my stomach, day in and day out.
I got nervous about this feeling that something wasn't right. What was my stomach trying to tell me? Was I going to die there? Or something else horrible will happen? The trip came, and I had a good time, but less sleep than average and more alcohol than usual.
When I got home, I started feeling that a depression was coming. Sleep deprivation and too much alcohol are horrible combinations for me nowadays and often act as triggers.
Like so many times before, history got repeated. I am very well aware that when depression comes knocking on the door, I have to open it. Acknowledge and accept it. When I do that, I am often able to handle it. This time I sealed that door. It was the beginning of August, and many people and clients were returning from their vacations. I looked forward to the fall and had so many things I wanted to do. I didn't have time to go down into a depression.
So I did exactly what I should not do. Avoiding my depression at all costs, wishfully thinking it would go away. Even though I know that never happens. Instead of listening to myself, I kept pushing. As usual, a recipe for disaster, at least for me. I felt like a zombie in no man's land.
This continued for almost seven weeks until I smacked into that wall on a Saturday afternoon. I didn't understand what hit me. Thinking I will be back on track the day after.
Only to realize I started to become almost immobile. I got exhausted and slept much more than usual. I could barely do the tiniest stuff. Doing the dishes felt like climbing Mount Everest. Going out and being around people was unbearable. Hearing the phone go off from a call or message stressed me out. I was a complete wreck.
After slowly gliding down that wall for seven days, I finally reached the bottom, or so I thought. I fell through that bottom and reached a new bottom.
It was a breakthrough moment with double entendre
I cried so much that day until I had no tears left. I was bawling until I didn't have an ounce of energy to cry anymore. I went to the kitchen to get myself a banana, and when I ate it, I exploded into tears again. It was as if my body would give all its energy to help me purge what I needed in the form of tears.
The bawling was because I could see so clearly how horribly I'd been treating myself during the majority of my adult life and how that had been the major cataclysm of my depression. I have never truly accepted myself as I am, not loving myself or being self-compassionate.
My inner voice, I call him "Benny the bully." His favorite thing in the world is to bring me down and trash me at all costs. And too often, I've been letting him do that. The self-loathing, never feeling good enough, barely ever cherishing myself, always looking for errors, never satisfied with what I was doing, where I was in life, how my body looked, and the list goes on.
Earlier this year, I wrote about "The Perfectionist - The Doubter - And The Hater," describing the process that goes on in my head. Benny is the conductor and directs that orchestra (I will write about him in a separate post).
As much pain I was feeling, as much of it felt like a resurrection. Ripped into pieces, I knew this would be a long journey back. I was still circling around at that newfound bottom.
I had just gotten schooled big time by my depression. Like a parent who schools their kid about something dead serious. It was almost as if it was saying to me: You do not fuck with me like this one more time, or I will beat the shit out of you until your last breath.
If I had respect for my depression before, now it has quadrupled. They say that your best teacher is your last mistake, and boy was this the best teacher I could've asked for.
I've been suicidal countless times when I've been having my periods of depression but somehow managed to come out on the bright side—picking up new life lessons and tools along the way.
But I honestly didn't think I would come out alive this time. That this is it, this is how it ends, the final blow that will end my life. That Benny finally won.
But here I am today, still recovering and more HUMBLE than ever. Carefully taking baby steps forward, one day at a time, together with all the amazing people I have around me. You know who you are. ♥️
Coming to an understanding of why my gut feeling was so hesitant about this trip, I still think I made the right choice. I had to hit this wall. I had to go through this hell. I had to get beaten up this badly in order for me to hopefully and finally accept and love myself. ♥️