I’ve got a lot of fun photos up on Instagram (okay mostly cats) that make me smile and bring back some wonderful memories, but my favorite pic is this one:
That’s me and my (then) 5 days new beautiful niece, Abigail Mary. It means so much to me not only because I adore Abigail so entirely (which I do), but because her birth marked such a turning point in my life.
During the spring and summer of 2012, I was suffering from a violent and brutal depression. It had been coming in waves for years, but that year it settled in and held on like it would never let go. I was barely coping, barely able to work, feeling wild and horrible and on fire with mental anguish. Every day was a heavy duty struggle not to toss myself off a bridge just to make it stop.
In desperation at the beginning of the summer, I got into a cognitive behavioural therapy outpatient program at CAMH that lasted 16 weeks. Between that program and some very caring friends, I managed to drag myself up and out of the depths. There were some very dark moments. Right in the middle of one of them, in a breakdown of epic proportion, my niece entered the world. I got the phone call and heard my sister say, “She’s here, its a girl, her name is Abigail Mary!” and my entire world turned upside down.
How can I describe the flame of hope that emerged in the depths of my heart at that dark and terrible moment? Hope for the beautiful little girl who was now my namesake, hope for myself, that I could be the aunt she looked up to. My whole life had changed in one fragile second.
I knew I would finish the therapy. I wouldn’t be sick anymore. I would get better. I wouldn’t be depressed for all time. I would work as hard as I needed to, for as long as it took. There would be no more thoughts of bridges and finality. Mary & Abigail Mary. I have held onto that little flame ever since and let it lead me to a happier and healthier life.