My depression and my recovery6 mins
1 in 3 young adults and 2 in 3 adults. That is the statistic of autists with depression. A shocking amount of people. And unfortunately I was also one of the victims of a major depression. A depression that dragged me through a very dark valley. A depression that completely destroyed me. Fortunately I climbed out again. And I can say today that I am no longer in that major depression.
How I see my depressive periods
It may sound strange to say, but I am happy with the time I have been through. It led to my diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome. It has also taught me what it means to have to start all over again, mentally, and to rebuild everything.
Let me be clear; depression is NOT fun. Far from. It is a very common disease and can lead to death. It is not a subject to deal with lightly. It is no way to get attention or to have an excuse for things. It is a dangerous disease that needs to be treated by professionals and which is fortunately becoming more and more understood in society.
In retrospect, the periods I have experienced in my life have been great learning moments for me. When I was in the middle of it, I didn’t see that, but now I do. It meant a lot to me to be so deep in the pit and climb out again.
The dark depth
When I am asked how deeply I fell, my answer is this; deeper was not possible for me. I completely broke myself down at that time, mentally I was completely broken. There was nothing left. I was faced with a choice; stop or continue. It had become that simple for me. Stop or continue with myself. It took me a lot of time to make the choice. And once I had chosen to continue with myself, I had to decide how. Because in my dark valley there were no longer any points of light in my opinion. Apart from my sense of responsibility towards my children. I decided I couldn’t do it to them. They needed and need me. That was a focus point and a goal for me.
This is a different fight for everyone. For me it was an art of setting goals. Goals for the future to live towards. And breaking these goals into smaller and smaller ones. A step towards a goal every day.
For me it was that I had no peace with who I was, how I was and what I did. My life was over for my feelings. I was broken and was in the debris of what I had once been. It had to be different, I was convinced of that, because if I had done it clearly did not work.
Climbing out of the valley
The climbing started slowly. It was (and still is) building myself the way I wanted to be, and no longer how I was. Climbing, getting to know myself and looking at myself openly and honestly was very difficult. People around me have experienced this and can testify that it was not always easy. This is a process of years. I had to choose for myself, analyze my own thoughts to see what they meant and rebuild myself.
I have been working on this in recent years. And every day I am still busy building myself. Building myself back together and determining where I am going with my life. One of the steps I made this year is this blog; tell and explain to people who want to hear what autism means to me. Every form of feedback I receive teaches me something about myself and others.
It was difficult. And I wish no one to be so far down the valley that you no longer know what to do or can do. For me it was a point in my life where I had to start over. Because the alternative was to stop.
I am very grateful for the fact that my climb is supported on all sides. By family, friends and guidance. But because of you as readers, I feel supported in what I do. Not everyone always agrees with me (luckily !!), but the feedback I receive about my blog is positive! It is very nice to know that there are people who like the things I write here. That there are people who come to new insights by reading my blogs.
I try to read all the feedback I get and appreciate every form, positive and negative.
Every depression is personal
First I wanted to write this piece in more general terms, more focused on autists in general. But I soon realized that depression is very personal. I cannot say what is the basis of someone’s depression, where it comes from or how they can get rid of it. I can only describe what it has been like for me, what I have done to get rid of it and to be able to say to people; “I know how you feel.”
Every depression is personal, because depression is part of yourself. I think it is a mistake in your thinking that is so deeply rooted in yourself that you assume it can never change. I had to go so deep that nothing was left of me before I realized that the depression was a fundamental mistake in my own being. A basis that I assumed to be true.
Now I know I’m not crazy. I’m not wrong. I am myself and I can be there. I am building myself, a little bit every day. And not even some days, but I’m glad I don’t slide back to worse. That way I know my depression is over. Nevertheless, I am still sensitive to depression and so on; but I know how to deal with that now.
Suicide is not a joke
For everyone who is depressed, know that there are people who listen and who want to help. Within the Netherlands there is 113 (0900-113)! If, like me before, you walk around with thoughts to end your life, please contact soneone! It is not necessary with this number, but with anyone. Tell someone what is going through your mind. You don’t have to face it alone. Even though you think everyone is against you, I want to tell you that you are not alone.