How I'm Beating Depression And Taking Back Control Of My Life

by Amy Horton

There are moments in life — small or large, momentous or commonplace — when the decisions we make shape who we become and what our lives will be. We each stand at many crossroads during our time on this earth. Some of them are tiny dirt paths, and some giant and confusing intersections.

One is not necessarily more important than the other.

The small things often make the most difference. I’m in a strange spot right now. I have experienced much change in the past few months, and I am discovering and coming to terms with unpleasant facts about my issues and how I handle them. It took major upheaval to force me to face things I’d, honestly, rather not.

It’s much easier to focus on others, their problems and how I can help them. Dealing with my own stuff was never my strong suit. Now, with regrets and sadness drowning my every waking moment – and sometimes my dreams – I’ve made an important realization.

No one else is going to handle my problems for me. I can push them away as long as I like with distractions, relationships and jobs I don’t care about, but they will be there waiting, when everything else is gone.

I’m tired of being unhappy and stagnant. There is difficult work to do. I’m scared as hell, but I have no choice. It’s that, or continue to flail until I finally succumb and drown.

I don’t like being depressed. I don’t enjoy feeling like I would rather die than endure everyday life for one more minute.

I’m not stupid; I know it’s not normal to feel like this.

I want to be happy. I want the same things everyone else wants: love, happiness and fulfillment. I just don’t understand how to get there, and it’s scary knowing it’s going to get harder before it gets better.

I believe people can change. Yes, I know you can’t change who you are fundamentally. That isn’t what I’m talking about.

I do think — no, I know — that with hard work and self-exploration, you can adjust your attitude, your behaviors and how you react to what comes your way. People do it all the time because it has to be done.

Sometimes, you just decide enough is enough, you buckle down, and you put in the work. It’s frightening, but it's not as frightening as making the same mistakes and willfully ruining your own life.

So here I am, taking a deep breath and facing all of the ugly. Amazingly, more issues come to the surface every time I go through something difficult in my life. It’s not easy.

Every day, I have to try and remind myself not to fall back into old habits. They’re so very hard to break, but for the first time, I am really trying to do it. I can rewrite my future by taking control of my fear, instead of letting it continue to control me.

I know I’m going to slip up, make mistakes and fall back when I’m trying to move forward. It’s life, and my hardest task is to try and be kinder to myself.

I don’t love myself. I can say it. I don’t, I never have and I don’t know how. But I sure have to try.

I cannot keep expecting others to love me so I don’t have to do it myself. I keep looking to them to fill the hole in my soul, and it’s completely unfair.

I’m asking people I care about to fulfill something within me that they can’t. They end up feeling they’ve failed me, but it’s my own pain. It’s not anyone else’s job to fill me up. It’s mine.

I’m scared out of my mind, but here’s the thing: I again lost something very dear to me because of my fear. I’m tired of doing that to myself.

I sabotage everything in my life because I am so terrified of not knowing what I’m doing, where I’m going and what my future holds. Because I’m not confident in myself, and I’m not confident in my decisions.

Thus, I ruin good things, whether subconsciously or self-destructively. I do not truly believe I deserve the happiness I want. Therein lies the problem.

If I want to achieve the happiness, I’m going to have to do the work first. I can’t have – or keep – that which I don’t feel is rightfully mine. How is it fair to myself, or those who love me, if I reject that feeling because I don’t feel it’s possibly genuine? Because I don’t believe myself worthy?

I’m insulting both myself and the person giving me affection. I never understood it that way until recently.

I’m fighting myself pretty hard right now. I am deeply in regret over how I handled my most recent relationship. Of course, now I see my defense mechanisms and fear of true vulnerability so clearly, but it’s too late.

I cannot have success in love if I completely sabotage myself out of terror. I’m so afraid of losing people, I end up pushing them away first. I wish I realized that sooner, but I didn’t. All I can do is make every effort to avoid doing the same thing.

Again, that’s the difficult part.

This is a big moment in my life, a crossroads that will define my future. Can I let go of the past, my pain and my regret? Can I take the necessary steps to ensure my future holds something brighter?

I’m certainly going to try, and I’m lucky to have a strong support network. The bottom line, though, is I have to rely on myself. If I don’t love me, how can other people? They can’t. I won’t let them.

I must find the strength to let love flow through my life freely and with joy.