I have struggled with depression since middle school. 27 years to be exact. I have the kind of depression that makes me feel melancholy for no reason at all. The kind of depression that made me seek to feel something, anything, for years because I felt deeply empty. And the kind of depression that nearly took my life as an early teen. Depression for me and the estimated 16.2 million people who have it across the globe is nothing to take lightly.
This is the first time I’ve shared this truth with the world. The only people who were privy of this knowledge were those closest to me. Not because I felt shame about being depressed, but because of the perception that many people hold that someone like me shouldn’t be struggling with something like depression.
As a therapist even people who are not my clients often seek answers from me on whatever is ailing them. I have been seen as not only the person who has the answers, but also the person who has it all together. What I know from discussing this phenomenon with my therapist friends & research is that I’m not alone in having this experience.
Therapists have a back story that is sometimes muddled with exposure to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that more than likely led them to be therapists in the first place. These traumatic experiences, that have the potency to obliterate people’s lives, are the very things that propelled me to do all I can to heal myself and others. It is why I became a therapist, founded a CDF Freedom Schools program in my hometown, and birthed Be Well Beautiful Woman. My trauma is also the reason I have depression and an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score of 7 (which I’ll highlight in a future blog post). I believe wholeheartedly that I wouldn’t be the person I am today – a person I am beginning to love deeply – if it weren’t for my trauma which resulted in me having depression.
According to my ACE score, it’s a damn near miracle I have landed where I have. A destination mired with success beyond my wildest imagination because I have chosen to face the darkness so that I can live in light. Let me tell you there were times when that wasn’t my choice; times when I didn’t even know that choice was possible. When I was simply moving through life, barely surviving, and not even sure I wanted to. During those times, the spirit sent me what I needed through people that spoke life into me. And although those moments were far and few between, it was just enough to carry me through my depression until I knew for sure I wanted to live, and live well.
Fortunately since then, and through my training as a therapist and holistic treatment modalities, I have a myriad of resources available to me to ensure I never traverse back to that dark place as an early teen. Whenever I start to feel melancholy, I get my body moving by doing yoga, going for a walk or forest bathing, spend time with a loved one, write in my journal, and more. I never used medication to treat my depression because when I was first diagnosed I didn’t like the way it made me feel. Please know I have no judgement about using medication, it just simply wasn’t for me. Not to mention, research shows that things like exercise can have a more positive effect on treating depression than medication.
My hope is that revealing I’m a therapist who lives with depression, you’ve been inspired to speak the truth that’s been holding you back from living fully. One aspect of living fully is accepting and loving all parts of who we are without judgment. It is also about doing the work to be all we were created to be. My mission at Be Well Beautiful Woman is to create experiences that promote wellness wherever and whenever you need it. The Be Well Beautiful Woman Tour is a perfect way for you to find the courage to speak your truth.
In truth, love, & light,