Well, I said in my previous post, it was a fight to be free from depression, and indeed it was. The ‘last round’ of the fight took a few years, but a lot less years than I lived with it.
We made a move when my husband retired, to a small town east of the city of Toronto. My sister and husband lived there and we wanted to get away from the big cities, and have a slower pace of living. So in 2000 we made the move and when we did, I was still plagued with depression, but hoped by relocating it would help. Unfortunately just making the move did not ‘cure’ me, as my recent previous posts tell with a journal I kept in 2000/2001.
We had to get new doctors when we got there and my husband started with one doctor and I began going to his wife as she was also a doctor. I really had never had a woman doctor before and I don’t think that in itself was the answer. However, I do believe that in this case God did direct me to her. While I did not know at the time, I learned after the fact that she also was a Christian. There was an immediate rapport, and she went to great lengths to learn of my background and the many years I had lived with depression.
For a short time, I went to a therapist as well as seeing Dr. B. After a couple of years however, that doctor left her practice in that town and moved away, leaving me to join a group therapy session. Within a few weeks, I determined that I did not thrive ’emotionally’ in a group setting. It just wasn’t for me. So I began going to Dr. B. whenever I was in distress and she would counsel me and she also thought it best to continue taking anti-depressants. After a time Dr. B. told me she had completed a course in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and asked me if was I interested in participating. As I felt there was nothing to lose, I told her I would like to.
That was the beginning of the end of depression in my life, and while that might not be the therapy that helps everyone, for me it was. It was the first real time that instead of the doctors just dwelling and keeping me in my bad thinking habits, and what they believe caused it I was now being taught to recognize those things but to also challenge those ‘dark’ thoughts and negative thinking. There was counseling but also I had ‘homework’. Between appointments I needed to keep track when the negativity came, and write those thoughts down but also to challenge where and why I was feeling the way I was. I was to keep a journal for the next appointment to talk over these feelings.
That’s a very short synopsis of CBT…there is more to it. All I can say is that before even a year or so I began to notice a difference. And then the next year even better and was on a low maintenance dose of anti-depressants. In January of 2012 after being stable for 3 years or so, my doctor determined that I could try to come off even the low dosage, altogether. I had fully expected to stay on the medication for the rest of my life as for most people in my situation with long-term depression, the anti-depressants were a small price to pay if my body needed it. The part of the brain that is helped, is where the serotonin is produced and when there is a chemical imbalance, it keeps it stabilized. I’m not a doctor so that is a very simplified explanation of the process.
It would seem that finally though in my case, the balance corrected and I was able to remain off the medication, and I was ‘okay’…. ‘OKAY’….. I knew that I knew that I would not see that terrible pit of despair and darkness again. Do I have periods of sadness…even great sadness? Most definitely I do, as anyone who has followed me this past year can attest to. But it is totally different, because I know that it is a temporary thing and will pass. With depression there is simply no hope of ever escaping.
What was a significant factor in my healing I realized with Dr. B. being a Christian was that in fact, she was caring for my physical ailments, my emotional condition and she was also praying for me. With all my heart I believe God led us to that small town, and while we moved in 2012 to be closer to our sons and our grandchildren, I was there for the time it was allotted for me.