In 2011 I unwittingly joined the ranks of a not so elite group of people who suffer from depression, an incredibly misunderstood condition. Coming from someone diagnosed with the formerly “pretend” disorder of fibromyalgia, that says a lot.

When you struggle to get out of bed, shower, eat, talk and even breathe, the daily activities of life seem to become nothing more than impossible chores. The mixture of emotions you experience change from one second to the next, with no apparent end in sight. At its heart depression debilitates you. Sometimes it seems like you don’t know which end is up – as if no answer exists to repair your state of mind. The one truth I can share with anyone who suffers from depression is that there is always hope.

I sought treatment through an intensive outpatient program offered by Kaiser Permanente. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to speak with and listen to others who agonize over similar situations. I heard multiple stories from my comrades-in-arms who suffered through overbearing parents, abusive spouses and Horrible Bosses. While I don’t recommend removing your antagonists off the face of the earth, it would be great to be like Samantha in Bewitched and nose twitch your problems away. Unfortunately, when you live with depression you know it’s not that easy.

The doctors who “practice” medicine on you try their best to find working prescriptions, but you have to deal with awful side effects and ongoing, painful emotions. Even when the right pills help the depressive symptoms, they can’t correct the problem. The only solution is you.

Don’t allow your problems or the people in your life to define who you are or make you lose yourself. You are a wonderful, sane human being – even when it doesn’t feel like it. You are greater than any situation and nobler than anyone who seeks to derail you. These events and questionable characters in your life only have the power you grant them. Their shortcomings do not speak to you, your abilities or your potential to make meaningful contributions in the lives of others. You are a strong and mighty person with a loving heart and an enduring nature. Anyone who does not appreciate these qualities in you is defective – not you. Dump their baggage and create your own designer brand.

Take heart in the fact that many people know exactly what you’re going through. Trust that you’re not alone. There are friends, family members, health care professionals, support groups, organizations and other resources you can access to get back where you belong. Find help wherever you can get it.

Go through what you need to go through – depression won’t go away overnight. If it takes two days, two months or two years, I guarantee you that you will do more than just survive. You will thrive. When you take back what is rightfully yours and regain your true sense of self, the only way to go is up.

Author's Bio: 

Eve Rojas, MSSW, went through a deeply disturbing period in her life that caused a major depression. Although still suffering from the condition resulting from her experience, Eve believes strongly in the Holy Spirit within her and the promises of God, which exist beyond life’s trauma and stress. Eve shares the knowledge and skills she continues to develop each day to provide tools to help you learn to shine your light and claim your inner strength so you can better manage life’s ups and downs.

Eve Rojas relies on discernment and faith to follow the path in front of her and touch the souls of others. Eve possesses a Master of Science in Social Work with expertise in Social Enterprise Management from Columbia University. She also graduated with honors from Yale University.