My Last Bout Of Depression Was So Severe That It Inspired Me To Change My Life

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life, but I thought I’d finally gotten a handle on it since I’d gone years now without a dramatic relapse. Then it finally happened, worse than it’s ever been before, and it changed everything completely.

  1. It was a wake-up call. I didn’t realize that I’d become complacent in my recovery. I thought I was still doing enough work to grow and change, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t listening to what I really need and I was ignoring the deep urge that I’ve had for a while now to move away and start a new chapter.
  2. It came out of nowhere. Sure, a few disappointing events occurred right beforehand, but it wasn’t anything unmanageable. I’ve certainly dealt with worse before and come out of it feeling much better. I wasn’t prepared for the deep sadness that struck me and refused to let go. It reminded me that I’m not as in control as I think I am.
  3. It was worse than ever before. I’ve gone through similar hardships many times, but there was an important difference in this particular instance. I’ve always pulled through by reminding myself that I really couldn’t hurt my friends and family by hurting myself. This time I didn’t care, which warranted immediate steps towards change.
  4. It made me feel entirely unsettled. I was shocked that I got that low that easily and I had to do something. A vision of my apartment all boxed up persistently invaded my mind, so I started packing as if I were already moving away. I decided that would enable me to leave whenever I was truly ready.
  5. It reminded me that life is short. My perspective quickly became: if I’m so disenchanted with life that I’m willing to end it, what the hell am I afraid of? I might as well do what I want while I’m still here and breathing. I have no idea what might happen in the future but I’m determined to do what makes me happy in the present.
  6. It caused me to jump into action. I’ve literally decided to move away from the city where I’ve lived my entire adult life in a matter of a few weeks. It seems sudden to others, but it feels nothing but natural to me. After all, I’ve contemplated moving for a few years now. I simply didn’t have the balls to make the leap until I realized how depressed I actually am.
  7. It showed me that I’m not OK where I am. I finally understood that I have to stop making excuses. I’ve stayed in a comfortable spot just because nothing is ostensibly wrong with my life. I see now that it’s not enough for things to be “fine”—they aren’t really OK underneath, so I have to move on.
  8. It reminded me how to truly listen to my gut. I’m convinced that repeatedly ignoring my instincts brought me to this place of danger. I took the wrong path for so long that it literally poisoned me from the inside out. I no longer have the room to ignore what I want so I’m going for it regardless of the difficulty.
  9. It forced me to recognize my vulnerability. I suppose I thought that I couldn’t get severely sad anymore. I figured I’d made it past that hurdle. Now I understand that the possibility of relapse will always be there, so I need to recognize what’s going on inside me. I’m going to take action instead of letting fear paralyze me.
  10. It propelled me out of my stagnation. I know some of the people in my life don’t get it because everything is happening very quickly. I’m leaving my life behind for a place where I don’t really know anyone. I made a decision and went for it aggressively, and I made things happen for myself in a very short period of time.
  11. It inspired me to face my fears. My greatest weakness is my tendency to let my fears get the best of me. I stagnate easily, especially when I’m not feeling challenged by or interested in my life. Once I’m in that complacent place, it’s easy for me to lose focus and take the easy route. This depression reminded me that fear exists purely to be conquered.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at amyhorton.net.
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