By: Moniqua Demetrious

“Depression lies. It tells you you’ve always felt this way, and you always will. But you haven’t, and you won’t.”

There wasn’t an exact moment that depression entered my life. I think it just became a lot louder and harder to handle when life become tougher to face. I also believe I had programmed myself to mute it well since society frowns and looks down on it.

The day I lost my father, 11 years ago I tasted the sourness of depression. It came to me in scattered moments in all different ways: rage, anger, sadness, weeping in denial, and numbness. As a college student I had no time to deal with these emotions, more as in I didn’t want to feel the pain that depression was giving me. I tried to run from it, escape it, ignore it but it was knocking hard at my door.

I had to eventually face the music but I refused to surrender to it. So, I saw a therapist more for the sake of my family. Tt was therapeutic, but after a couple of sessions I felt “good” and abruptly stopped going.

A year later in 2010 after feeling like I was getting back to life again, BOOM I get diagnosed with an unfamiliar disease, Ulcerative Colitis. I couldn’t believe that life was throwing something else at me to deal with, as if I hadn’t dealt with enough?!

This disease, without a doubt, was mentally draining, and there it was again depression at my front door. I had hit rock bottom when I had to learn to cope with a new medical condition and adapting to my “new normal” of medications, diet change, and my overall body defeating me. I felt SO alone in my process of recovery.

I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, hope was a foreign language to me, and my life as I knew it was ruined. That is what depression had me thinking daily. I would sit in my room for days, crying, angry, and mad. No matter how much love and support I received daily from my family and their desire to help me in any way, I just didn’t want to hear it.

But depression also had another funny way of telling me “you’ll be fine” and that was that small glimpse of “ok I can do this!” moments. Those moments are where I would feel this high of feeling so good and positive, but unfortunately those moments were short lived as in an hour to 2 hours max and back to the dark.

I managed to get myself out of the hole AGAIN and maneuver through life as best as I could. Just when I thought I got a handle of this; I get smacked again in the face. “Hello, it’s me again, DEPRESSION.”

From 2017 to 2018 I underwent 3 major surgeries for my UC, removing my colon and rectum resulting in having an ostomy bag and now a J-Pouch. However, this process of surgery and recovery, were VERY challenging for me to cope with not only physically but mentally.

It was during this time that I couldn’t escape the heaviness of depression. For the first time I had to acknowledge it, accept it, and help it. It had become so exhausting to the point that I would have panic attacks. I felt my world was shutting in and I couldn’t keep my head up anymore. I had officially reached my mental limit.

With the love, support, and guidance of my husband, mom, sister, and aunt who is a Clinical Psychologist, I finally got the professional help I needed. It was a lot of work, commitment, acceptance, and education to get where I am today.

For me, my depression was always situational meaning when life threw at me major life changes, my mental state just couldn’t keep up and deal with it. And I learned that, that is OK. I was for a long time ashamed of my mind because I was afraid of how others would perceive me. It’s very natural to feel that because this world is still not equipped to understand that having depression does not mean you are incapable of anything.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I am stronger than I think!

I am so thankful to say that depression is not disrupting my life, I’ve learned to cope when life throws me struggles. We are all different and deal with this in various ways, but you will get through it, you will overcome it, and you will have brighter days. Just be patient with yourself.