Often times, people are depressed after the holiday season for a variety of reasons, but the New Year brings with it new possibilities if we are open to them. Every moment we are alive is a new moment so every moment brings a new possibility even though we may not be aware of it. When we are depressed, it is hard to see possibilities. I know this is true because I have spent a lot of time depressed.
Seventeen years ago, I had no hope that I could ever get better. I had done research online and had learned that a person who has had recurring episodes of depression will continue to have other episodes. Then I learned that recovery was not only possible but also likely by meeting other people who had my diagnosis who were doing better than I was. While I continued to be depressed, for three years I worked on a non-crisis Warm Line and then I worked full-time for ten years providing peer support, recovery education and case management. I felt that being able to live a full life was, for me, recovery even though frequently I had thoughts of self-harm and occasionally had suicidal thoughts. Then four and a half years ago, the stress of being a case manager meant that I became very depressed and had to increase my medication so much that my neurologist thought I had mild dementia. My poor memory made it difficult for me to do my job, increased my stress even more and caused me to become suicidal so I had to quit working. After I quit working, my stress decreased and I was able to cut back on my medication and a miracle happened. I had a hypo-manic episode and my doctor realized I had the wrong diagnosis and was taking the wrong medication. After trying a couple different combinations, we finally found one that worked and, since that time, except for a couple episodes, I have felt fairly well.
A year ago, I began working with Voc Rehab. They helped me write my resume, write cover letters, apply for jobs and do mock interviews. I applied for twelve positions and had four interviews. I was becoming discouraged but, just before Christmas, I was offered a job by HOPE, Inc. which I accepted. I will be providing peer support and recovery information at this peer-run comprehensive mental health service provider, one of only three peer-run mental health agencies in the U.S. Everyone who works there from the psychiatrist to the janitor either has a mental health disorder or is closely related to someone who does. I will only be working part-time but I thought it was best to start that way. So working is one of my new possibilities for this New Year. I am more than a little excited. I am looking forward to being able to talk to people about recovery now that I am doing so much better and, eventually, maybe even work full-time again. I just finished my first week of work and got my first paycheck.
I have found that patience, holding on to hope and perseverance are the keys to unlocking possibilities. Sometimes possibilities don’t happen right away, but we must not give up hope because if we lose hope then we will not try anything and if we do not try anything then we will not unlock the possibility. I don’t know what this New Year will bring you, but I have hope there are also possibilities for you.