Now I can hear some people saying… why is there even a question as to what the reason is for someone getting help for depression/anxiety/bipolar etc? Isn’t it simple? To not feel bad, to not risk suicide or cutting or whatever? To be “normal”?
Well… and this is from OUR circumstances… I am telling you right now, there are OK reasons to get onto the path to healthy… ones that are used and are a starting point but are not a good enough foundation to create a lifelong path to better days… They are a starting point, a trigger to begin but they have to lead to more… and then there is the key foundation reason to go on this epic journey, the one you may find through therapy and discussion or maybe even as an epiphany one day when you are simply trying to make it through the day.
This is not my first rodeo… in fact, in the span of time I have known/dated/been married to Ken I have experienced the lows of depression twice in person and once at the beginning of our friendship via the internet/phone. The first time (in person) he hit bottom it was the realization that he couldn’t leave US… that his thoughts and the behaviour that was becoming more and more acceptable added up to a situation where myself and the children would be without him. THAT reason pulled Ken from his funk enough to seek out help, to stop the cycle and to start anew.
Sadly there wasn’t enough. It was OK that he could sit there in group therapy and say, I need to be better for my family. He could look me in the face and say you and the kids are keeping me here. I know you need me and I need you. This was a start… an opening. But at the time the resources were not there to delve deeper. We got him healthy “enough”. And the help seemed to fade away. This led to years of stability… nothing epic either way, no horrible scary lows but the highs weren’t there either.
This status quo lasted us through Echo’s birth all the way to moving south and changing our lives in a substantial way. This last part triggered this current slide south. The reason, the foundation for his changes was there but it was external. His reasoning was all based on the situation outside his own brain. The kids, myself, the house, our future… all substantial reasons… but it wasn’t the BEST reason.
The BEST reason came with a new therapist and a determination to not repeat our nasty little cycle. What we have found is that to make changes that stick, to really embrace the process of creating a sustainable life plan and avoiding the greater chances of a relapse into depression. The main reason for becoming healthy HAS TO come from within. This time around Ken is getting better for himself. HE needs to be well, not because of us but because in becoming well we all become well. Therapy (and you know I love the idea of therapy) is a look inside at the history of your depression, at YOUR history, your issues, your feelings and insights. That internal appeal is the strongest foundation you can create. Just as the bad thoughts and feelings are inside of you so too must be the drive to change.
Your family and friends are also an important foundation but the most we can do is cheer and support, we cannot change the dialogue, we cannot know that those suggestions are surging or that you feel a certain way. That has to come from inside of you.
Those “OK” reasons are amazing… the knowledge that you have someone or something dependent on you that you don’t want to let down, that you have responsibilities and a burning desire to fulfill them. All these are powerful, but don’t let the external be the sole reason. Children grow up and move away, jobs end, animals pass away… look within. Find the reason within to be strong and stand tall and find joy in life again and that is an even BIGGER gift to those you feel a connection to.
Basically, it is important to find the foundation for your health the same way you find the foundation for faith, for love, for your future: from within. There is something to be said about the saying “you can’t truly love someone until you love yourself”… you cannot be healthy for others until you realize that you must first be healthy for yourself.
As always – for those who suffer and strive to be healthier WOW are you ever amazing! And those who help out along the way – what an amazing gift you are giving. If you need a shoulder on either side of this experience I am here as is my family. And as always comments, suggestion, etc are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read this!