If you believe the research, it ain't looking good for me. Nope. Not at all.
Studies show that for every major depressive episode that a person experiences in life, the chance of experiencing another grows significantly. In fact, recent research from the Institute for Mental Health Care in the Netherlands shows new factors that influence recurrence such as length of time between episodes. Interestingly, the longer time that elapses between episodes, the higher chance of relapse.
Super. So just when you think you are out of the woods, the darkness can come sweeping back over you. Have I ever mentioned that I have three major depressive episodes under my belt? Super duper.
I think this is something that most people who have experienced chronic, recurring mental illness have come to take as a given: that cumbersome, weighty, dark cloak is never far away. And with that understanding can come a pitfall - we fall into the trap of letting illness define our lives and dictate how we live in a limiting way. Big mistake.
We are not even half way through 2014 and I have lost two people. One was an old school friend, gone well before her time, and the second was just a week ago - my uncle. Incredibly, horribly sad. Both of these losses have served as a wake up call to me, however. They have reminded me of a few things.
First, everyone struggles in life, everyone has something hard to deal with. My uncle had a painful cancer that he fought against until it finally became too much. And, of course, my cousins, aunt, and my dad (his brother) are now experiencing true sadness and loss.
So my 'thing' is a chronic illness that is very likely to take me through another major depressive episode at some point. I am actually OK with that because here's what I have learned: I have the strength to make it through that journey. I can ride out the darkness and pain. I have done it before and I will do it again.
But here's where I am shifting my thinking: in my daily life, in the times between the lows. I can't afford to lose any time to feeling cranky or complaining about things that are just not worth it. It's time to shake things up and practice daily gratitude and joy for the life that I been blessed with, in a much more conscious manner.
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
"Best Day of My Life" ~ American Authors
The most valuable lesson is a simple one. Life is too damn short - no matter how long you live. As of today I choose to live each day to the best of my ability. Today I choose to live a life that I will look back on one day with pride. Today I choose joy. What about you?
P.S. Not sure what depression is or what it looks like? Please read this from GoodTherapy. org
P.P.S. Here's some musical inspiration by American Authors - Enjoy!