Thing things I recall passionately hating most about my depression was the soul destroying nature and the question 'When will I come out of it, if ever?' Without a doubt, it's one of life's most torturous conditions. I found myself in mine for about 15 years, before I finally found myself out of it.
I believe we graduate out of depression and everyone's graduation happens in different ways. Some graduate with meds (chemical balancing system), some with therapy, some with an effective support network and the list goes on. Unfortunately, part of the graduation is a trial and error process which seems seriously cruel.
For me, I stagnated through part of my graduation by relying on alcohol to shift my chemistry and boy did it shift it in all the wrong ways. I tried about 5 different meds after the one that worked stopped working. I graduated through some truly horrible challenges in those years, such as miscarriages, an overdose (at my lowest), a bit of help and a lot of (unintentional) poor advice from friends, family and even therapists. How the list goes on. I reached solid ground above my depression through, of all things, post natal depression group therapy. It was a powerful experience, listening to how others raised themselves through many challenges. It was also a powerful experience to note all the common traits we shared and how angry and sad we'd become, with very little energy to keep going. I recall looking at this long list on a whiteboard when it suddenly hit 'This is not me, these are the traits of depression itself'.
Michael, I regard us as truly amazing; to get through life with such a list of incredible challenges (those that come with depression). I also regard those who have just about run the gamut of positive ways out of depression as incredible. It was not until coming out my low that I looked at how often I had raised myself to a challenge which I hoped would bring me out. I look at your list of trials and note that you have also raised yourself often to such challenges. I see how amazing you are.
Each time we rise to a challenge, this is a step up. Whilst it may not feel like it, I ask 'How proud are you of your efforts in trying to raise yourself?' In this moment, I would love to hear you say 'I have never tried harder at anything in life and in knowing this have never felt prouder of myself'.
I suppose the joke of it is 'We have been raising our self all along and didn't even know it'.