From Ben

Dear You,

 

When you’re reading this you’re probably in a dark place. I’ve been there too many times. Way too many times. As I couldn’t stand being there anymore my wish only was to escape reality, feeling nothing anymore, don’t exist anymore. That also included wanting to die.

 

I’ve been to this point a lot of times. Every time I was in such a dark place I felt hopeless. I thought I’d be stuck there for the rest of my life. That nothing and no one could get me out of there. I couldn’t believe the people around me saying it would get better.

 

But it will. It won’t happen overnight. It will take time and go slowly.

 

I have been fighting depression for the past four years and the last 2 1/2 years I’ve been in hospital for 50% of that time.

 

I learned a lot about myself and why I am who I am. I learnt a lot about what I need and also I tried a lot of different medications. It was about 20 different antidepressants, mood stabilisers, neuroleptics, etc. Most of them were pretty useless to me. Some helped me to calm down. Some made me dizzy. But only recently I got medication that really helps me. It pushes my mood. It gives me more energy and makes me feel more balanced.

 

I know how it feels when you think there is nothing that can help. But the probability is pretty high some medication will give you at least a bit of support. And if you only got to walk 90% of the way on your own that’s fair enough!   

   

I used to isolate myself from people around me. People that are mostly willing to help me. But to get help I had to grab their reaching hand. And stick to the helping people as close as possible. Or at least reply to text messages. Though it costs a lot of effort and felt so wrong because all you wanted to do is being alone.

 

Sometimes it is better to be alone but in most cases expressing yourself to someone else is valuable and divides the heaviness of the depression.

 

Also search for professional help! There are a lot of good therapists and doctors that can give you appropriate therapy and medication or other support. But again it’s up to yourself to accept the help that is there. Also don’t expect any treatment or anything else to happen overnight as your mental illness grew over years. It won’t tear down in just a week. It will last weeks probably till you feel way more stable. But that’s okay. It’s worth it. It’s worth the fight every day when you kick yourself out of bed and have to force you to fight for yourself to care about you and your body. To dress up, to eat properly, to go out for a walk and breathe fresh air and make your appointments

 

Fighting depression is about letting go of negative relationships, letting go of your job that was stressing you out, letting go of anything that keeps drowning you. Letting go all the negative stress.

 

Try to see your depression as your opportunity to grow. Find out what kind of job you would like to do, which people you like to have around you, what you would like to do in your leisure time, what would you like to eat, where do you want to live or if you want to practice mindfulness. You’ll face these questions in your treatment and you will find answers too. You won’t find them in the beginning. That’s not the right time. In the beginning you have to get more stable, relax from the stress this illness created. But on your way when you get better and better you will be able to express what you want and what you need. And that’s exactly what will relieve you from your illness someday.

 

From three months I continuously feel better. It’s not that every day is good. I still struggle. Some days I still have to fight with myself. That’s okay! I am not in my full health! I am severely ill.

 

I started working out several times per week, including yoga lessons. I eat 3 times a day almost every day. I take care of myself (taking shower every day, getting dressed the way I like, etc.) I go to meetups to try new stuff and get to know new people. I started a new job.

 

I am not completely out of the tunnel yet. But the light isn’t far away anymore. I’ll be there. And it will feel great. And so will you.

 

Trust me, I escaped this horrible nightmare, though I had absolutely zero hope for such a long time.

 

You can do it and you WILL.

 

All the best

 

Ben