For most, being diagnosed with a mental illness can be devastating. The stigma of being labeled as mentally ill is enough to cause even the strongest of individuals to cower into their bedrooms and vow never to leave. My recent depression diagnoses was not exactly a surprise, my reaction to it on the other hand was a bit out of the ordinary. Being told that all of what I was feeling, the lack of emotion, loss of enthusiasm, decreased motivation and constant state of blah could all be explained by one word. Depression. I had a new glimmer of hope. One small change, taking one pill in the morning could get me back to the try hard, dancing in the rain, over excited about going grocery shopping me that I had lost somewhere along the way. I was free again.
After my diagnoses, long before the citalopram started to kick in, I saw changes in myself. I became more spontaneous. Knowing that if I stopped home even just to change clothes I would not have the power to get off of the couch. I planned more trips to my best friends school knowing that she would not let me bail. Getting in the car was always a struggle, and every highway exit seems like the perfect way out of social interaction, but I would go knowing that it was not me but the depression wanting to go home. I was using my depression as a reason, not an excuse for my feelings. The gym became my sanctuary. Nothing was more freeing than sticking in your headphones and going to town on the latest pinterest ab workout. I was fully aware that my depression was causing some of my body image issues, but I wanted to look good when I could see myself the way everyone else did.
The first time I noticed a difference was when I danced my way across the floor at work. Forgetting for a moment that there was a line of addicts awaiting their morning coffee, I dazzled the crowed with the worst ever split leap ever preformed, but I laughed. Not just an awkward laugh from being caught by a few regulars, but a genuine I don't care who sees laugh. I was getting myself back. Depression is an every day battle that can be lost by a dropped café mocha or won by the perfect song on the radio. That diagnoses was not devastating to me, it was a validation that I was not myself, but a less than, invaded by unwanted negativity, pity party throwing version of myself that was on the mend. I was on the upswing, and my depression freed me from feeling stuck in this state of mind.