By Debra Atlas © 2021
I always wanted to make a difference. I never doubted that, although I had no idea how I’d achieve that lofty goal.
My life has been full of starts and stops, pancaked together with fear and uncertainty. During the 1980’s, while living in New York City, I pursued a singing career with a dream of heading to Broadway. But my fear of success coupled with my fear of failure proved to be Olympic-sized hurdles I couldn’t get past and I ended up walking away from that dream. Later, after moving to the West Coast, I took various temporary (temp) jobs. My fear of making it on my own as a freelancer or a small business owner held me back for a few years before I had the courage to take action in that direction.
This is NOT a winning combination, nor one that guaranteed any success in life. Along with this Depression, Anxiety, Wellness, Calmness has been my life-long companion. THAT power punch has knocked me flat more times than I could count.
Life has often intervened and stopped the action from my striving to succeed. Several bad car accidents and some health issues, including a debilitating bout with chronic fatigue, stopped me numerous times from actively pursuing my career. Each time my depression deepened and my spirit sank deeper into a dark pit.
During all this, I kept asking myself: “Why is the Universe testing me? How can I get myself out of this?” I was learning firsthand the meaning of the word “depression”, although at the time I had no clue this was what I was dealing with. My days were bleak and dark and my thoughts followed them down. Living alone didn’t make it any easier. There was no one around to say “Hey. It’s going to get better. You’ll get through this.” There was only me, my mind and the darkness.
I can recall my first step out of this deep pit. It was the day I met John, the man who eventually became my therapist. It was a chance encounter, an introduction by a good friend. Two weeks later I found myself in a gut-wrenching emotional crisis, again with no one around. Remembering that chance meeting, I found John’s card and called him. This one action led to me step on the path back into sunlight and to discover the real possibility that I could live a balanced, fulfilled, even a successful life.
I’ll be the first to say that not everything works the same for everyone and that everyone has a choice in the direction they take to deal with their depression. Should you work with a therapist? I’d recommend it, especially given the life-changing benefits I found from doing so.
Over the several years I worked with my therapist John, I gained vital tools that have stood me well over time. These include:
- Being able to make distinctions between how I feel about something and what actually is happening. Perception can cloud the facts of a situation. Being able to get to the heart of an issue is crucial.
- Understanding that it’s vital to “move” when you’re facing depression. It’s easy to be a couch potato or lie on the floor and brood over things. Getting up and moving helps shift your energy and your mood.
If you decide to seek out a therapist, take the time to find someone you’re comfortable working with. Once you’ve found them, it’s equally important to commit to working long-term. I know from experience that road can get VERY uncomfortable along the way!
Now, this isn’t a fairytale where it’s all roses in the end. Far from it. My path has been bumpy, rocky and often painful, with many twists and turns, along with some big ups and seriously dark downs. But the end result of all this has been that I’ve become what I always hoped and dreamed I’d be – a writer, an author and I’ve finally become someone I feel is making a difference in the world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate that my depression is under control and no longer runs my life. All those years of suffering, I never would have dreamed that THAT could be possible. From my perspective, that’s a bonafide miracle.
What caused this miracle? Many factors played into creating this miracle, among them working with my expert therapist and my intention to “get to the other side”. Other pivotal factors include:
- That I had the courage to reach out and ask for help;
- That I stayed on that bumpy new path I had taken regardless of how it felt, looked or how it affected me and
- That I believed it was possible to have that miracle, to have my depression under my control instead of being run by it.
All these things helped make the miracle of what my life’s become a reality.
Years ago someone told me to look for miracles in life because they’re there. Now, every day, I look for them and – big or very small – I find them. So can you!