Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
As I mentioned before, with the help of my therapist (and through her suggestion) I am working through the 12 Step Program that is used by AA. Although a lot of people associate this with alcoholism or addiction, I am finding it is a very helpful and powerful tool in the recovery and understanding of depression. At this point I have worked through and completed Step 2 of my 12 Step program.
I would like to believe that this step has been achieved a few times during my depression. Although the 12 Step program wants you to take the spiritual and religious path on this; that part of it has taken me longer to accept and believe. I am a spiritual person, I do believe in God; however it has been hard for me to just hand myself (or any part of me) over to him to “fix”. Have I put faith in him? Yes, I have. I believe that God has a path for me, but I also believe that God wants me to figure it all out for myself before he shows me the light or the path that I must take. I need to believe in myself first. I need to believe that I am that power and that I am better than the person I have been.
The first time a “power greater than myself” restored me to sanity was the first time I was hospitalized for my depression. I did not want to admit that I needed help for my depression, let alone that I was even depressed. The first hospitalization happened in Houston in 2009, and was for eleven days. The longest eleven days of my life. If you think being in a medical hospital is bad, being in a rehab/mental hospital is horrible. However, at that point in my life; I needed that horrible. I needed something large enough to wake me up and slap me in the face. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, or I did not allow it to be enough.
Quite a few times that power has been another person. My husband or a friend grabbing a hold of my shoulders and saying, “HEY SNAP OUT OF IT”, or reasoning to with me to a point of understanding or at least compromise. A few times that power has simply been looking at my children and saying to myself, “you are better than this and they need you”.
When I was hospitalized the first time in California, I was embarrassed. I felt as though I had failed myself, my family and my friends. I thought, “I have already been here and I promised I never would again”. But I allowed myself to be there. And as much as I believed that the hospitalization in Texas had shaken me to a point of belief, of “a power greater than me”; it hadn’t and neither did being hospitalized this time. I again promised I would stay on track, not let this happen. I did not, and that was all on me; that “power” was all my doing.
Then something bigger happened. I allowed myself to fall into a hole again, back into a dark place; and didn’t really tell anyone or do anything about it. I was lying to myself as well as people around me. People who cared. I let feelings and thoughts fester and grow. I let those feelings and thoughts consume me. And although that is no excuse for what happened or my actions; I hurt people…people who care…people I love…people who love me. And I don’t know how to say I am sorry for that in a way that will ever make it better, will ever “fix” it. Again, that was all on me; that “power” was all my doing again. Every action, word said, thought thought, feeling felt was my own, my own responsibility; and I have accepted them. I made the decision to put myself in the hospital yet again, I made a more valiant effort in the groups, spoke with the counselors and doctors; held nothing back. Previously I had looked for help but never reached out for it. Now I am, I am reaching out in every direction I can. Groups, therapy, medications, doctor’s appointments.
I think I have realized; with the help of therapy, that this time that “power greater than myself” was actually myself. The only person who can do anything for me, is me. I have to make the effort; and before I was not. I wanted to believe I was, but I know now that I wasn’t. Does that excuse any hurt I have caused, any relationships broken, any harsh words spoken…no it does not. Illness or not, depression or not; those things where and are my fault. I just hope someday I can find a way to repair those things.
Moving on to Step 3 (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God) is going to be slightly harder for me. Although I am a spiritual and religious person, it is really hard for me to just hand myself over to my beliefs. I think the first step in achieving Step 3 is going to be to return myself to church. So for now, that is where I am.