I’m Back: The Clinging Grasp of Depression

It has been about four months since I’ve last updated. The last time I made a post it was about my decision to go gluten and soy-free. Up until now I would say I have been successful at cutting gluten out of my diet. Soy on the other hand, I have found to be a lot more challenging. Mainly because I tend to love Asian food which often contains varying soy products and second, because many things contain soy in one form or the other. However, I have done my best to reduce my soy intake by a significant margin. 

So, how do I feel? Generally, health-wise I would say I’m feeling better than I used to, physically at least. There is considerably less inflammation in my body and less thyroid swelling. However, as it is the nature of Hashimoto’s, I do still get inflammation and pain in my thyroid.

Despite being able to cut out/reduce potential triggers of my Hashimoto’s, I was unable to cut out environmental factors such as stress – which is the main reason why I could not muster up the motivation to keep the blog updated with my journey into the world of gluten-free eating.

I’ll summarize my journey in another post.

For now I would like to highlight the real monster that lurks in the dark: DEPRESSION.

As some of you may know, I have been diagnosed with depression. As common as it is, just the mention of it can render people uncomfortable. Some claim that depression is not real or that it is just a cry for attention. Others claim that it is just sadness that will simply pass with time. But the truth is that depression does not necessarily mean sadness. The two are not equivalent.The opposite of depression is not happiness as it is with sadness. Rather, the opposite of depression is vitality. I learned that after watching Andrew Solomon’s TED talk. Before hearing those words from his mouth, I had had trouble fully expressing what it meant to have depression. When it would come down to saying how I feel all I would say was “I don’t know.” I would stammer until I just smiled and shrugged it off – bothered by the lack of words I could find.

Now with the words in hand: depression in the general case is the lack of vitality. Vitality: our sense of being – living in the now with energy. Depression is the absence of that. It feels like being on the brink of death. If you try to save yourself it breaks and if you don’t, gravity runs its course and it breaks. Leaving you in this position of utmost anxiety and fear. What do you do? Do you hold onto hope for a miracle? Or do you cut the suspense short and let yourself go? So there you are, suspended, in nothingness. No glimpse of hope. No glimpse of life. All that is left is an emptiness filled by the numbness required to stay still… until the moment your fate is decided.

Put simply, it is paralyzing. It’s like being at zero degrees Kelvin: absolutely no particle movement. Frozen in time. Frozen in a position you don’t want to be in but you have to be in order to survive.

That was me in the past four months. I relapsed into severe depression. I had no motivation, no incentive and no desire to live. I had trouble concentrating on what I was studying despite trying my best to learn the material. I lost confidence in my own abilities and intelligence. While I put on a social and happy front, I was very lonely and clammed up. I was unable to even talk to myself about the issues I was dealing with. While I was able to use wellness and counseling service in the past to manage my depressive symptoms, in the last four months I found it very difficult to reach out my hand to find help. I had very little support in that time. I lashed out in different ways. I didn’t know how to cope.

Midst all other symptoms of depression, I would say that suicidal ideation is the scariest. The suicidal thoughts are not intentional. They are not the result of being dramatic or egocentric. They are the result of deep, deep pain and dissatisfaction. A loneliness brought on by waiting for rescue. A call of desperation for relief.

I was only able to come out of the grips of my severe depression and out of the internal hiding I was in by removing myself from the environment that fostered my feelings. Now I feel more at peace in the moment. However, i still need to confront my past trauma and rewire the way I deal with difficult situations. While some things may have enabled me to survive traumatic situations in the past, they are inadequate for dealing with normal interactions.

I hope to continue to grow as a person and to learn more about myself. I hope that by documenting this I will help others do the same for themselves.

Until next time,

Sarah Mansour


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