After losing my boyfriend Matthew, I fell into a deep state of depression. It’s nearly two years later and I still battle extreme depression daily. I’ve suffered through multiple suicide attempts. These last two years have without a doubt included the toughest battles I’ve ever had to go through, but they’ve also been moments that I have gained hope from.
The hope stems from those around me who care about me and love me.
Writing and visual art have always been mediums through which I express myself. After my loss they were outlets for the intense emotions I experienced and they helped so much.
At first, when Matthew was gone I felt the urgent need to find distractions to get my mind off his loss. Maybe at the time that was the right thing to do, but as time passed by I think the distractions stopped working. I was left to be consumed by my own thoughts. I quickly fell into the void of depression.
I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in months and I just painted. I painted what I was feeling and what I really saw in my mind. I didn’t try to distract myself with temporary feelings, I channeled all of the real thoughts and feelings about Matthew onto the canvas.
When I was done I felt the weight of the clutter in my head lighten. It felt like I was letting things – feelings, anxiety, dark moments — go, instead of continually covering them up with distractions.
If you’re going through a really difficult situation my advice is to find your own version of painting — something that inspires you, motivates you and helps you push forward. When you find a hobby you’re extremely passionate about it ends up being therapeutic. It can help to get your emotions out instead of forcing them under distraction after distraction.
I created the painting above and I wrote this piece below when I was experiencing a hard low in my depression.
Depression is impossibly difficult to explain, especially to someone who has never been through it before. The best way I can describe it is being lost in a vast amount of nothingness; it’s like floating around in space, the universe is endless. Depression feels endless and like there’s too much space to be able to reach out to anyone around you. You desperately reach out in front of you but you turn up empty handed.
You have a blank look on your face which reflects the lack of thoughts in your mind. You have to rely on a pill to get you out of bed in the morning, to help you face the extremities of what seems like a dark world, a void. You feel extreme social anxiety and can’t look people in the eye and are terrified to speak.
Depression isn’t a simple one day sadness, it is a mental illness that is uncontrollable and it consumes your entire mind, body, soul, and life. You lose friends because they don’t care to talk to the hallow shell of a person that you feel like.
All over the world, more than 350 million people suffer from depression. 350 million hopeless, lonely, empty people trying to find a way to reconnect with life. Depression can only be overcome with love. Love is essential to life and without it we are lost. Love brings hope, happiness, euphoria, and endless feelings of joy, not despair.
As a person who has personally overcome depression in the past and is relapsing again, I can say that love from all the special people in my life is what gives me that glimmer of hope to hold on. Love is what I can reach out and grasp in that immense, vast universe. We all need to spread more love to all those that we can in any way possible and never give up on anyone suffering from this illness. You have the power to help them get through this by getting them the help they need and by giving them the love and support they deserve. Stars can’t shine without darkness, whatever you are going through, you will get through it and pull through as a stronger person because we are all incredibly special shining stars in a vast, open universe of endless opportunities.
(If you are living with depression or another mental illness know you’re not alone. Visit It Gets Brighter.)