We think that if we dare to change our lives radically, we will somehow leave all the negative parts of our lives behind. We follow the journey of Elizabeth, a woman who had it all…
By Elizabeth Thurber
Entry 1: I’m from New York City. It’s basically the only place I know and thought it was the only place to live. Life was familiar, fun and busy. The word comfortable was how I described my life, but more and more the word predictable was all I kept feeling.
I had a great husband and daughter, a fun job and best friends. After years of working together to build a life we were finally beginning to enjoy the rewards of our hard work. I had the New York face – happy but annoyed, busy but bored. I have always pushed my emotions down, put them into their compartments and moved on with life. I think I have been doing this since I was a young woman but was able to manage it. As I grew up, I constantly struggled with the face I put forward and this lack of fulfilment I felt inside. All the while I say the right things, but deep down I knew it wasn’t true. It was easy to be this fully functioning woman in NYC. I created a busy life and was comfortable in my working woman/mom/wife/friend role. But this feeling was always following me.
The more I continued to push the feelings down the more hollow I became. I knew this had to change. I wanted to feel happy but had no idea what happy was anymore. There were times when I would hear music and it would open me up and I would cry. It was like feeling happy even for a moment was almost painful now. I had to stop this. I had to force a change. When my husband was presented with an opportunity to move for his job, I jumped on it. Six months later, I was packing up our apartment excited to start our new adventure. I needed this and I pushed my husband for this. I told anyone who would listen this move was for our daughter; we wanted her to see the world and know she could go anywhere and be anything.
I still believe that to be true, but secretly, I was so sure I was going to magically be happy and fulfilled and the feeling of predictability and lack of fulfilment would disappear. I guess I had been depressed for many years but what does depression mean? I have seen depression in its most tragic state and while I say I was depressed I have never wanted to harm myself. For me, depression meant I only just existed. I wasn’t really living. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t sad, I was nothing. After pushing so much down for so long I was actually empty. I provoked changed in the hope that it would help me begin to live again. I didn’t realise the journey only begins after you’ve broken down.
My journey is not a new one as so many have done this before me. But this is my story of depression and change. It’s simple but honest. In the end, I still don’t have it all figured out but that’s ok.
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