Depression is something I began to struggle with after my cancer diagnosis in 2013. I think that depression is something that I've always struggled with but it wasn’t until 2017, that I knew needed to get help with keeping it under control. I had experienced some major trauma in my life from 2013-2017 and it weighed heavy on me. In 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and ended my relationship, 2015 I lost my grandmother, 2016 my little sister had a stroke and in 2017, I had been told that my breast cancer had returned and metastasized. I had never experienced so many traumas, in my life. I was trying my best to maintain my sanity through it all but I couldn’t. I was hurt, lost, and angry.
"Well, where was your faith”? It was there but my fear was a lot stronger. I feared death, leaving my daughter, losing my sister, and not being enough. Fear had paralyzed me!
I saw my oncology team every 3 weeks and every time I saw them, they would ask if I was ok. I know I looked like how I felt but my answer was always, yes. I remember finally breaking down in my doctor’s office and telling them I needed help. I cried uncontrollably...I felt like I was drowning! It was then that I was prescribed the anti-depressants. I had always considered myself to be "strong", so having a disorder that is labeled a "mental illness" was embarrassing for me. That's why in the beginning, it was so hard for me to even admit that I was depressed. Who really wants people to know that they struggle with depression? I know I didn’t. However, I realized that I was starting to sound like the students I had taught and mentored. I had always encouraged them to take their medication so that they can be a better them. I reminded them that once they developed coping mechanisms for themselves, they may no longer need the medication. I needed to take my own advice. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a better you, so I had to do what I knew would be best for me. My strength was in my acknowledgment that I needed help.
When my mind begins to get consumed with what ifs or thoughts about things that I know I have no control over, I get into a headspace where I feel lost, and I can no longer hear from God. I would then shut everyone and everything out so that I can center myself. I meditate and spend time with God by watching a sermon or two, reading, and/or worshiping. I use these coping mechanisms and the medication to help release me from the thoughts and fears that try to hold me hostage and to align myself back up with God. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m getting depressed and when I do; I immediately begin to initiate my coping mechanisms. Before the medication, I would allow myself to get so deep into depression that I didn’t recognize myself. I wasn’t the happy, smiling Tameka that everyone knew. I wasn’t able to be the mother my daughter needed me to be and I would isolate myself from the people that loved me the most.
What I’ve learned is that I can no longer allow myself to be drowned by depression. I evolved to a place where I can’t be concerned about what people think or how people feel about what I’m doing to keep myself “above water”. I'm not a fan of medication; however, I know that I need it, for now. What I do know is that faith without works is dead. I’m doing my part and God is doing his.
Do not be ashamed of your path of life because it is on this path that you will evolve into who you are destined to be. It is on this path that you will recognize your purpose and it is on this path that you will gain your peace. So evolve with me!
**If you are suffering from depression or know someone who is here are a few links to resources that may help you cope. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm/