“Check on your strong friend.”

This quote keeps popping up on my newsfeed – and in all seriousness, I was that strong friend. The past three months have been the darkest months of my life – and the scary thing is I looked fine on the outside – in fact, I looked like that strong friend. But in truth – I was struggling.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve been going through, and I’m scared shitless to share this with the world, but I also believe that that our greatest fears can be our greatest gifts. So here it goes.

In June of this year, I made the decision to go off my antidepressants. I even posted about it – I felt good, and so I thought it was the time to go off them. But it wasn’t – I had just started my business and I was doing deep internal work on my childhood wounds. And let me also admit – I went off my antidepressants without a doctor’s supervision (I can now see how bad that decision was for me – but I also believe that life is happening for me and there’s a lesson to learn in all of this).

The first two months off my medicine were fine, and then September, October and November were really dark. I mean – it was difficult to get out of bed in the morning dark. I was feeling my feelings through a fire hose and it was overwhelming, and so I started using food to numb my pain. There was a heaviness in my chest each morning when I woke up. And honestly – I’m so grateful for my son, because otherwise, there are days that I don’t think I would have made it out of bed.

Some of my friends now ask why I didn’t reach out to them during this time – and honestly – I didn’t know how bad it was because I just thought that it was part of the process of transformation. I thought in order to do deep healing I had to go through deep pain. I was suffering, and I was in denial. Some days were good, and some days were bad. I’m grateful for my coaching techniques, because that’s how I made it through. I looked strong on the outside, but I was struggling on the inside. Depression doesn’t always look how you think it looks.

And the things is – when I finally realized how bad it had gotten – I felt so much shame. I felt shame because I thought, “I’m a life coach, I should be able to get myself out of this.” But I couldn’t – and it was hard for me to admit that I have a chemical imbalance. My ego was also telling me, “you went off your medicine in June, you can’t prove everyone right by going back on them.” I was in pain, but I was also in conflict.

I went to a Tony Robbins event the first weekend in November, and I when I got back from that event, I hit my bottom. My depression was at an all-time low. I was in immense pain and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew something was off, but I kept hoping things would get better – but they didn’t.

There was something inside me that knew life wasn’t meant to be this hard. That I didn’t need to be suffering. I was someone who enjoyed life and got up at 5 am and is genuinely excited about my purpose and what I do for a living. And I had become the complete opposite. But there was something inside me that told me to go back on my medicine. There was something inside me that knew life could be better.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago I went back to the doctor and made the decision to go back on my antidepressants. And let me tell you – it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I know it takes several weeks to kick in, but I can already tell a difference in my energy and my attitude. I put aside my ego and made the decision that was best for me. Life doesn’t have to be so hard.

Making the decision to go back on my medicine wasn’t easy. I felt so much shame and was afraid of being judged. I was afraid people wouldn’t work with me if they knew I was on antidepressants. I’m so grateful that I was able to work through those fears and do what was best for me.

I’m telling you this because I think there is a lot of stigma around antidepressants. I always strive to be honest and authentic with you all, and so here it is – I am someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, and I am someone who takes medicine to be the best version of myself. I am also someone who transforms people’s lives. And I can’t serve from a place of depression, I can only serve when I’m at my best self.

My life is opening up and I feel happier than I’ve felt in five years – seriously – FIVE YEARS. When I finally surrendered and went back on my medicine, my life started falling back in place. It started moving forward. I’m doing some different things with my business and have some exciting announcements coming in January. And it’s all because I made the decision to do what’s best for me.

I firmly believe that LIFE IS HAPPENING FOR ME, and I know I will be able to look back someday soon and understand why all this happened. I know that what I’ve gone through will be able to serve the greater good in some way. Even if it’s only one person who reads this post and feels less alone and understood, I will have done my job.

Always remember to do what’s best for you. I’m so grateful that I did.

You are not alone. Please reach out to me if you want to talk at Vitale@VitaleBuford.com.