I don’t often write about my coexistence with mental illness on this blog, unless it is in reference to Monster Work. I like to keep Depression fed in a different space because while I believe that all Monsters need to be fed or be fucked (and sometimes both), I don’t think I necessarily have to do that feeding and fucking in the midst of the rest of my life.

(Or, maybe that’s the way to truly recognize them as parts of me and to integrate them. Hmmm. Must think about that some more.)

Anyway, I have Depression, with a capital D, and was officially diagnosed in the first year after my son was born. Since then, I’ve been on and off medications and in and out of therapy (seventeen, count them, seventeen therapists) until I finally hit the formula that worked for me in November of 2009 – a therapist I could trust and connect with, and a medication regimen that works.

Being on medication again, and in therapy, meant that spaces in my life opened up that were formerly consumed with Depression telling me what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. I had space to breathe, and spoons, and was able to focus on things I wanted to do for the first time in year.

Things like building a religious practice.

With treatment for my mental illness and its’ attendant issues, I delved into Kemeticism (something Sekhmet nagged me about for years before I found it) and FlameKeeping, and Monster Work, and Words Mean Things. I learned how to apply the concept of ma’at to everyday life. I went to Paganicon, and did a talk on Baby Steps. I listened, and I learned, and my brain and heart became full. At this point in my life, I feel like I inhabit myself…and I wouldn’t be there now if it weren’t for the fact that I got the help I needed.

Why am I saying all of this? Well, as of yesterday, September 11, 2014, I had my last therapy session with the amazing Dr. Barb. We almost hit the five-year mark – just a little over a month short, actually. And this post, for the Pagan Blog Project, is in recognition of the fact that without her I wouldn’t be where I am.

As I push the reset button on one part of my life, I can honestly say I am looking forward in hope instead of fear. I know I can handle whatever comes; I’ve already passed through the fire and come out singed but not roasted. I am transformed.

So, here’s to the supporters out there – the quality therapists who are open-minded and don’t judge; the psychiatrists who listen and want to help us make our own decisions about medication; the counselors who fit us in when we need them. Here’s to the psychologist who takes over the client load of another and promises to help with a forward journey rather than looking back.

And here’s to Dr. Barb. Without her, I wouldn’t know what it’s like to truly live.