I spent the past 2 days browsing through the various posts and I am inspired by the struggles and the strength demonstrated. Having suffered from depression as a teen/young adult, much of the stories and struggles resonnated deeply with me and it reminded me of a time that was so dark I struggle to fully fathom today.
I am drawn back to mental health repeatedly at work because mental health sufferers holds a special place in my heart. As I slowly acknolwedge the past struggles I endured and the many small triumphs I witnessed in my own life, I am keenly aware I have avoided recognising the role my past struggle with depression played in moulding my resilience and the person I am because of the stigma it holds. It is difficult to be open about my past struggles in the real world because of my insecurities in the 'what if' - What if people found out about my mental health history at work, would I be penalised? While I might not be suffering from depression today, I am mindful of the inherent vulnerability of further recurrences of depressive episode and how my history still holds me back from my dreams to use my own experience to give hope to others, as others had once given me hope to overcome it.
I have learned that recovery is an ongoing process, one that is filled with good days and bad days. You don't snap out of depression, you learn alternative ways of coping and it isn't always easy. We can get better, but we sometimes need to moderate our expectations of what "feeling better" means. While it was so hard for me to play with the idea that you can get better previously, I knew I started to make progress and embarked on the journey towards recovery after I accepted that you can still have days you feel upset and discouraged. Afterall, we wouldn't understand what it feels like to be happy and inspired if we do not know what it felt like to be depressed and discouraged.
Recently, I experienced burn out due to the workload, compounded by possible secondary trauma after a critical incident at work and was at risk of another recurrence of depression. I recognise the familiar random brief urges of self harm a couple of times during the initial period that reminded me to be careful. I know I find comfort and purpose in finding ways to channel the strengths and triumphs I see in my own struggle to give hope to others. Simply because, it also reminds me that of how far I have also came in my own journey of recovery previously and I hope it would help me in my own ongoing recovery from burn out.