Thank you Eleni Pinnow for sharing the truth! Your beautifully written article about your sister has inspired me to finally come out and share my story. Today is the day I join you. I’m going to tell the truth.
You are correct! Depression does lie. It, without a doubt, tells you that you are unworthy of love. When you’re depressed, you constantly question your worthiness and literally tell yourself that you are just taking up space. You truly believe that the world, your friends and your family will be better off without you.
I believe there is a misconception when it comes to depression. There is a belief that those who suffer from depression are weak minded. I believe it is the exact opposite. I ask you, how strong does your mind have to be to convince yourself of such lies! Those with strong minds and strong convictions suffer the most. Our minds are so strong that we can convince ourselves to not believe our loved ones when they tell us they love and care about us. We are so convinced that other people are lying. At the same time, we undoubtedly believe that what is going on in our heads must be the truth! Those of us that suffer from depression have the strongest, most resilient minds.
When I wrote my book “How To Believe In Yourself” I was advised not to “self-diagnose” my depression because it might take away from those that are actually diagnosed by psychologists. It made feel like I couldn’t have possibly suffered from depression because I never took mediations to help relieve my symptoms. Did this mean the feelings I had weren’t even valid because someone else didn’t diagnose me?
I was 14 years old when I first considered suicide. I never told anyone about my thoughts. I never told anyone that every day I was secretly planning my suicide. I never told anyone how many times I picked a date and imagined exactly how I would do it. I still question the thought that I might not have been depressed. Let me get this straight. Because I never told anyone what I was experiencing, it means I wasn’t really depressed? I call bullshit. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want them to try to convince me otherwise. I knew what I knew and the right day would come.
THAT DAY came. During my last two years of college I drank alcohol 6 to 7 days a week. Depression and alcohol don’t mix well. After a night of drinking I made it home and I immediately couldn’t stop crying. I was alone. I kept thinking, “No one loves me”, “Why would they love me? I’m worthless.” “If someone loved me they would be here right now.” Every day, leading up to THAT DAY, I regularly thought about how life would never get better and I couldn’t even imagine a future for myself. At the time, I believed there was no difference between living and dying.
So, that night, I took a sharp kitchen knife walked into the guest bathroom and laid in the bathtub. I lived alone and none of my drinking buddies knew where I lived. I knew no one would find me for days or even weeks. I thought that was best. I would just be silently absent and everyone would go on with their lives. I cried harder than I have ever cried before. Holding the knife to my wrist, I just wanted to bleed out and no longer exist.
To this day I have no idea what stopped me from going through with my mission. The next thing I remember is waking up with a knife in my hand in the bathtub. I got up and went about my day, which probably involved more drinking. I drank to be social and I knew people liked me when I drank. It’s what made me feel connected to others.
For over 10 years I suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. Alcohol was my drug of choice. I was able to temporarily numb the feeling of being lonely while drinking with other people. But one-day, after I graduated from college, I had a particularly rough day at work and all I wanted to do was drink. I will never forget that day. It was the day that I chose life over death. For whatever reason, that day, I knew I needed to make a different choice. Instead of calling my friend to go drinking, I decided to go home and go for a run. Running is now my mediation and it’s what keeps me balanced. It saved my life.
It wasn’t an easy transition but I choose to spend time with different people. I said “no” to my old habits and old triggers. I even said “no” to old friends. I chose to believe something different. I chose to believe that I was worthy. I chose to believe that I do have a future and that I have the power to create it. With new habits, including fueling my body with healthy foods, exercising regularly, and choosing to believe in myself instead of doubt my worthiness, I have been able to experience a much more enjoyable life.
Since choosing life over death, I have changed careers, gotten divorced and realized that I get to live life on my own terms. However, my life isn’t perfect. It’s perfectly imperfect and I still experience suicidal thoughts from time to time but I’m now much better equipped mentally and emotionally. I am able to disregard the lies and continue to tell the truth.
Just as Eleni Pinnow stated in her article: I now choose to believe that I have value, I have worth, I am loved and ultimately, I matter.
For those of you who suffer from depression, I welcome you to exercise that powerful mind of yours. Decide to choose thoughts and beliefs that inspire and empower you. Use your amazingly, beautiful mind to challenge depression’s lies and decide today that you are worthy!