It Takes a Team
As a teenager, I always had this image that living with depression meant I had a flaw in my character. Depression was synonymous with the loneliness and darkness I experienced during this time. I thought that reaching out for help meant that I was weak. As I got older, this belief drastically changed, as the experiences I faced as an early adult had a strong impact on my outlook on life, hope, and happiness.
College became a crucial turning point in my life, and it ultimately changed my perception of what it meant to live with depression; it was no longer something that I had to face alone.
I once heard a variation of the phrase “it takes a village” in “it takes a team,” and I found so much strength in that.
My team has people that know my heart and a crucial group of trained professionals who helped me continue my journey towards happier and more hopeful days.
It was not an overnight change or a “cure-all,” but, despite the challenges, the lung surgeries, the adversity – it has been worth it.
Today, I am living a story. Depression is only a part of it. I realized that my life is not defined by the darkness I face or the heaviness in my heart. Even though I face it every day, I am still able to experience happiness and share joyful moments with the people I love. I can still smile, laugh, and enjoy the little things.
I learned that seeking treatment actually made me stronger, not weaker. The techniques that I learned through treatment helped me make huge strides in my walk with recovery, and in my ability to cope with the stressors I have faced these past few years in my lung surgeries and through transitions.
I learned about the power in numbers, because the heaviness I felt didn’t have to be experienced alone. Friends, family, and mental health professionals became my biggest fans, and knowing that even now makes my heart feel so good. I learned that some people would love me unconditionally, not solely on my best days, but also for my low days.
My journey, as I have asked for help and shared my story, led me to the social work profession. I have always loved helping people and seeing them empowered by their own successes. My passion to serve others also comes with the necessity to be able to help myself before I can help others.
Finding help has allowed me to open my heart to the stories of others and truly empathize with others in their search for help. I know how to feel and relate to others, and my hope is that my story can help someone reach out and experience the same hope that I have been able to find. I know it can be difficult and it can feel lonely, but I promise that it’s worth it.
Throughout this chapter of my life, a lesson I’ve learned is not to constantly compare myself to the person I want to be, but rather learn to love myself for the things I’ve done to get where I am today. Things change, and there is hope and happiness despite adversity. We may have different stories, but our stories are meant to be resilient.
I believe in you, and I hope you know that it’s okay to share the heaviness you feel with someone else.