Little things have been happening that have shown me that I am not alone in my daily battle with depression. The phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" has been going through my head. It seems it also takes a village to beat depression. The picture is of the village my father grew up in, Matera, Italy. It is known for the "sassi" or caves. The houses were built right into the caves. I thought it gave a good picture of a village where everyone is interconnected and kind of on top of each other. These are a few of the people in my village. They are people who are going to be there on my road to recovery as well. Names will not be mentioned. If they read this, my villagers will know who they are, but I don't think it's fair to share every detail of their connection with me.
Someone Who's Been There:
When you're battling depression, it helps to know someone who has been there. Someone who has struggled with the beast known as depression. It gives you a common enemy and it lets you know that you are not alone. I have a couple people in my life who've been there and are still there with me. It gives you a real feeling of connection when you can describe exactly how you're feeling and they just get it.
They're usually the same people who will check-in to see how I'm really doing. They won't put up with a bullshit answer of "I'm fine". They want the truth. They don't run away when you tell them the truth either, because it doesn't freak them out. They understand the truth because it is something they've experienced too. They are the ones who want to keep in touch so that we can help each other. They listen and know that you can be counted on to listen to them too. It can be freeing to know that you can be real with someone and not have to put forth the exhausting fakeness that you have to put on in public sometimes.
So much for not naming names! My husband is my biggest supporter. He put up with me before I was medicated which says a lot about him. He's been with me through two pregnancies when my hormones wreaked havoc on the depression and the postpartum aftermath that ensued. He understands when it's me talking and when it's the depression. He lets me have my space and also knows when to give me a gentle kick to get me back to living. I call him my cheerleader because he really encourages me to go out there and do it. He barely batted an eye when I told him I was changing to a plant based diet. He just accepted it. Just like he accepts me. He's been encouraging me to look for answers about the medication I take and how to stop taking it. He's going to be with me through getting off this medication and I'm going to need him for sure.
Someone Who is Praying
One thing I found when I started taking the antidepressants is that I felt like I had no spiritual connections any more. I don't know exactly why that is, but I have been doing some reading and it seems that this is not uncommon. Through it all, I know that I am being prayed for and that encourages me.
My family doctor and my chiropractor are also part of my village whether they know it or not. My chiropractor is big on getting people healthy and off of medications, so I'm sure that he will encourage me in my quest to discontinue antidepressant use. My family doctor will be a harder sell, but I'm going to need his help to taper this medication. I'm doing research now and hope to have something to present to my family doctor in the next few weeks, so that he can help me to come up with a plan. I know that the medication I take has a high incidence of withdrawal symptoms, so I want to do what I can before starting to taper the medication to prepare my body for this. It looks like I'll be looking at supplements first.
It's hard to be friends with someone who is depressed. We're not likely to put an equivalent amount of effort into maintaining the friendship. It takes a lot of effort to do anything, so we tend to focus on doing what needs to get done to get through the day and let other things drop. That doesn't mean we don't care. It just means we're doing all that we can. I have a couple of people I can drop an e-mail or text message to from time to time. They seem to know when I could use a joke or just a reminder that they're still around.
My village mostly consists of family and friends and I'm thankful to have them.