One Sunday afternoon when things were really good, I had a light bulb/inner voice moment. Share your story Kathy. What if there's women out there like you, who went through or are going through, or will go through what you did. You could help them.
So I listened and started to write.
Before 2011 I thought depression was something that happened to other people.
And it did. My fiancÃ©. My daughters daddy. My best friend.
Sadly my fiancÃ©s mother passed away some years ago and this haunted him. Especially now we had our own child. The birth or our daughter was a beautiful and blessed experience. I couldn't have been happier.
Maybe that's was the start – the birth of our daughter. I secretly knew he was mortified that his Mother wasn't here to see our new baby and was struggling with this, but I had no idea what to do. The first 8 weeks was the norm, endless sleepless nights and breastfeeding woes, my fiancÃ© (let's name him Bill) moved out of our shared bed during this time as he couldn't cope with being woken up. (Should I have noticed sooner?) I felt alone and sad, but accepted his decision. Apart from this everything was 'normal'.
Then his father died. Out of the blue. In an instant – gone.
I still remember the moment I got the call from Bill. Looking back, I naively had NO idea how this was going to affect our lives.
None at all.
Everyone was sad. I remember quite brightly thinking "all this will be over soon. Everyone will laugh and play and smile and talk and be normal again soon. I'm sure they will."
Have I mentioned how naive I was?
I was totally wrong. Nothing was ever the same again. Our little family was rocked to breaking point. Everyone was affected in ways I never imagined possible.
I had this beautiful new baby, I'd never felt love like it. She was my world. A game changer. She was everything. But we shared our home with this total stranger. Who had no interest in anything. Who moped about and slept every hour he could. He went from being Mr caring, attentive, practical, domesticated and loving, to Mr I have no space in my heart for any love, Mr sleepy, Mr I have no clue what's going on around me, Mr depressed.
We went on for a year like this before he sought medical help. That year was hell. (The second year under medical help wasn't much better either) I constantly battled with myself: "how could I go on like this?" Receiving very little love, support, no communication, no nothing.
I was pushed to question everything. I can, hand on heart say, it was the most horrific and lonely times of my life. No one understood my situation. (Apart from my amazing sister in law – but the pressure and changes even caused strains and issues in OUR relationship; we had to work so hard together, with each other, without her, I don't think I'd be here now and our relationship is the main inspiration for writing this) And why would they? I wasn't depressed, I hadn't lost my father, surely in was ok?!
Well I should have been. But I wasn't.
In all of this, I was only thinking about myself. How I was the victim. How THIS had happened to me and how unfair it was to have a depressed fiancÃ© when we just had my fist child. My new baby experience had been ruined by this. I grieved for the loss of my father in law – for all his flaws I still missed him. I grieved for my daughter too – growing up without ever meeting her Granddad. But I never once considered how Bill was feeling, because I had no idea. Partly because he'd shut down and wasn't talking, but partly because I was in victim mode and living in an 'ego' state.
Someone one day asked me about depression and I was ashamed not to know any of the answers to their questions.
This promoted me enough to get out of victim mode and do some research.
Fuck. What a bitch. I'd been letting him deal with all this on his own. Shit.
All I cared about was myself. What an absolute selfish cow. I couldn't believe it.
I knew nothing about depression. Yet the love of my life and the father of my child had it.
Once I'd researched it and understood it a bit more, I made a huge effort to change my behaviour and my actions. Things improved, for a while, but I still felt completely unsupported and at times I would secretly break down again, hiding my weakness from Bill now (because that's what I'd read I should do) and having no clue how I was going to get through this. I desperately searched for blogs relating to my situation but found nothing.
Did I mention how different life was? Friends disappeared, social situations were avoided and to be honest, we stopped getting invited out. Bill's illness was isolating for him AND me. It was so confusing and hurtful. People just dropped out of our lives.
Intimacy was none existent. Planning was non existent. Excitement, fun, laughter, joy, happiness, deep communication, any communication some days, was non existent.
The happy times we shared as a family, all gone.
Whenever I was around Bill I could literally feel the black cloud and the weight on his shoulders on me. It was terrifying and I felt hopeless.
All I wanted was to make him happy again, but nothing I did or said made any difference.
Sounds awful doesn't it? Please don't feel sorry for me. This may sound strange but Im so grateful this happened to us, to Bill, to me.
I'm so happy we had a uninvited visit from depression.
And believe me, I NEVER thought I would ever say that. Ever.
I was pushed to the brink. Pushed to discover more about myself, pushed to find answers and pushed into my spiritual journey.
I sought help from Sally, a trusted friend of a friend and Mentor to women. I went to her on auto pilot. What she had to offer was exactly what I needed. Within a week I was starting my journey.
Through Sally I discovered EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which was a huge transformational therapy which shifted huge emotional baggage quickly. I'd never felt anything like it and it put me in touch with my 'energy body'. Physical pain, repeat patterns of behaviour and emotions which I'd carried for years were dealt with and changed. I rediscovered affirmations and positive thinking. I realised it was me and my energy/thought patterns were creating what my life looked like.
This was a life changing realisation for me. I finally was able to take responsibility for my life. It was me and my thoughts that were creating my unhappiness not the situation I was in.
Law of Attraction at its best! I felt quite a fool to be honest – it was me and my thoughts that were creating my reality. Sally also introduced me to Abraham Hicks and Esther and Jerry Hicks books and recordings. My eyes were opened wide – it all resonated with me. I was able to take their teachings and apply them in my life – things stared to change. I was on a journey of personal growth and transformation and development and I owe so much to 'that terrible thing that occurred in my life'. This shift in energy and thoughts changed everything. Especially Bill. Yep, the change in my energy and my thoughts had a direct impact on Bill's energy and behaviour. So not only was I able to change my experience and energy, I was able to change his.
I by no means am suggesting that Im glad my father in law passed away and my partner got depression – NO way. I'd give anything for my daughter, niece and nephew, brother in law and finance to have their Granddad and Dad in their lives still, and mine. I'd also give anything for Bill to have a happy healthy mind and brain and not to have suffered that awful mental illness. However, I simply refuse to live in victim mode anymore, I refuse to let sadness and painful change hurt me and my family.
So much changed and looking back it showed me who mattered, it cut all the crap out of our lives and we ended up having a streamlined, stronger and more supportive friendship group. That I'm proud to say I can fully depend on, no matter what. I know who's there for me now. I know who to trust and who I can rely on. There's something super special about that. And I cherish every one of those people. Who listened to me and did support me, loved me and cared for me and our family.
Yes it was painful to let some of them go, but appreciating who and what I did have made it all OK.
The most transformational and powerful thing to come out of this whole situation is my relationship with Bill. We have been shown our strength, I've been shown how deep my love and compassion goes, I know wholeheartedly that we could survive anything. Ive seen him and myself at our very worst and even though we have seen these sides, we still love each other.
I'm so happy so say that after a very long time; happiness, laughter and love – even communication, is back in our lives. and this time its feels different, I'm so much more grateful and I value the fun and happy times more than I ever thought I would or could. My heart swells with gratitude when I hear my daughter and Bill laughing and playing, each and every time – because this is something I never thought would happen.
When we are at family gatherings – and I look around, I notice the gap missing and feel a tinge of sadness but I also see and feel the abundance that's there. My focus shifted from one of lack to one of abundance, and that in its self was HUGE.
So to answer the question of the title to this blog… YES. There's certainly no bright side while you're in it, while its being experienced, while others are trying to help you, but it's when it pushes you to the brink and you crack and question and CHANGE because you have to – and it's unbearably painful and scary, the all the changes start making a difference, and little by little, bit by bit, piece by piece, it all starts to get better. Then yes.
Depression caused me and my family to change A LOT. Mainly me and my thoughts and I'm so grateful it made me do this. I now have hope, faith and strength I never knew I had. I know I can bring my daughter up in a solid and stable family. Who thrive and live for joy and happiness. I changed my thoughts and my world changed. My experience pushed me to do this and I couldn't be more grateful.
My thoughts have changed so much, I'm now in a place where I'm following my dreams of helping people (young women specifically) to change their thoughts so they can their world! I qualified as an EFT practitioner in 2014 and am developing my own business. I now write, create and inspire, love, laugh and feel grateful every single day.