09/02/2014 09:52 am ET Updated Nov 02, 2014

My Depression: From Darkness to a Safe, Healing Space

I cannot be physically healthy if I am not mentally and spiritually healthy. I have suffered from bouts of depression since I was at least 15 years old. The depressed spirit that descended upon me was so heavy that I started calling it death. Death stalked and hovered over me daily. It became imbedded in my mind and tried to convince me that suicide was the only way to shut off the unbearable pain that I felt within and without. In those early years, I did not understand that death was actually depression. As a result, I did not seek any type of treatment and my depression, death, washed over me again and again. Being washed by depression beat and left me with several badly healed scars all over my mind.

Why am I "putting my personal business in the street?" Because I am tired of living with the shame and silent suffering that comes with depression. I have allowed my shame and silence to hold me captive for far too long. Instead of continuing to suffer in shame and silence, I sought healing for my body and mind. Although I am still on the journey, I have turned a corner. Now when I feel depression pulling me into a dark place I pay attention. I then seek refuge in my healing space. My healing space provides the balm that strengthens and restores me mentally, spiritually, and physically so that I can release my depression. I want to live out the life that was planned and destined for me. That will not happen if I remain burdened and bound by depression.

So what is my point? After all, my depression has not been like clothing that I choose to put on in the morning and remove at night. In certain seasons of my life, I have worn my depression 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But, living in the tortured silence and shame brought on by my depression will and has not saved me. I recognize and understand that depression is powerful. But, by getting treatment, taking care of myself, and sharing my story I, too, have become even more powerful, courageous and strong. We each are on the same journey but we do not have to carry our proverbial crosses alone. There is a collective responsibility to share the struggle or challenge that did not kill us, so that someone else who is struggling can become stronger and know that they do not walk alone.

As always, be encouraged.

Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.