My New Years resolution is to not take as many things for granted.
- "What did you do this afternoon?"
- "It was raining and I was bored so I walked over to the Guggenheim"
What is it like to live with Depression?
One of the worst parts about clinical depression is that often those who want to help, simply can’t understand what the individual is suffering through. Although many people suffering from depression do experience physical symptoms, the nature of the disease as a distorted way of thinking is difficult for someone who hasn’t experienced mental illness to identify with. Making matters worse, many people assume that outside events are in some way to blame for what the individual is experiencing.
Although outside events can contribute, often people with depression are not experiencing anything in their lives that would appear insurmountable to a healthy person. As an example, during the worst bout of depression I ever experienced in nearly 10 years of living with the disease:
- I had just moved in with an amazing and supportive woman who I loved dearly
- I had just started a dream job working at a three star restaurant in Manhattan, the pinnacle of my career as a cook
- I was living in an exciting city reuniting with old friends from college and building friendships with some of the most good-hearted people I’ve ever met.
What I’m Thankful For: A 180 Degree Pivot
Anyone who knows me personally is aware of the challenges I’ve faced over the past year. Last winter I was in a very bad place mentally and it caused nearly every aspect of my life to suffer as a result. My relationship with my girlfriend was in shambles, my relationships with friends and family were strained and I was unemployed after deciding to leave the culinary world and generally lacking direction in life.
Growing up in a conservative southern family, there was always a stigma associated with those who sought professional help for mental health issues. I know that even in families not as conservative as my own, this can be an issue and I’ve always found this deeply troubling. For this reason, I’ve always been open about the treatment I’ve sought and my own personal shortfalls for which I sought help. I know that if I had spoken with someone who had dealt with depression themselves, it could have inspired me to seek treatment sooner and avoid many of the problems I experienced.
"Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."