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Unmasking Depression: How I Wrote Myself Out Of Depression

May 25, 2015 Anna Krjatian


"It is in difficult times that the great times ahead are dreamt and built, brick by brick, with maturity and the hope that comes from wise action."
Ben Okri

For all those who know me, know that I am generally a happy, bubbly and positive person. However, this wasn't always the case. For a long time, I was mentally and emotionally unwell, and did a good job of masking this from a lot of people. I put on a 'face' to society: smiled at all the right things, laughed at all the right jokes and did everything that was expected of me and had many people fooled about the inner battle that was waging within my heart, soul and mind.

I guess it started a long time ago, probably when my parents separated and even before that, but the emotions really hit me when I moved out of home. This was three years ago, in February 2012. I moved out without a stable income and had only $500 or so in my bank account. My friend and her family kindly let me live with them until I found my feet, which I guess I did quickly enough. Within a month, I had 4 jobs and was working close to 7 days a week and within another 4 months, I moved into my first leased space.          

Looking back, I can see how the years have built me up every-time I was pushed down. But at the time, I really struggled and not many people saw this. A lot of the change happened behind closed doors when I was completely on my own with absolutely no one to turn to, except myself and God. As an avid reader and writer, I have always turned to the written word for either consolation, guidance, support or expression: it didn't matter if these were someone else's words, or my own. At this particular time, I turned to words for healing. So during these years, every time I felt really down and had no one to turn to but needed to speak to someone and verbalise everything that clouded my vision, I picked up the pen and quite literally, wrote myself out of the state and emotion I was in. After years, all those musings and reflections turned into a book and somehow the writing healed me and made me better. In essence, I physically wrote myself out of depression.

At the time I was writing the book, I had no idea that one day I would be publishing it, let alone starting a publishing company and living the dream I had ever since I was little. During those years, there were many days that I could not plan for more than one week at a time or foresee life more than one day at a time. The one thing that kept me going was my faith. I believed, with every ounce of my being that somehow tomorrow was going to get better, that tomorrow a miracle would happen. I hated weekends and always looked forward to Mondays - Mondays were the hope I had that this week would be better and that something would change and life would improve.

Eventually today became the tomorrow I believed in. Eventually, retrospectively, everything started to make sense and I could see how those years helped me become who I am today, pruning and preparing me for a journey that I didn't even think or know I was capable of taking. I am now publishing this book with the hope that it inspires and empowers anyone and everyone who is going through difficulties: if I could get through it all, then they can too.

My other intention with this book and the blog is to start a conversation about mental health. I have lost count how many times I opened up to people about my book and that lead to the other person opening up to me about their own issues, be it depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, being on anti-depressants or something else. This really puzzled me: "Why don't people talk about this unless they are given permission to talk about it?"

The inspiration also comes from a friend who took her life in 2010. Arina was a bright, charming, intelligent, peaceful and lovely 21 year old girl who had her whole life ahead of her. In her short life she accomplished much, but then she became unwell and was extremely depressed. When her psychologist put her anti-depressants she became even worse. Tragically, she decided to take her own life and leave the Earthly one behind.

Having had suicidal thoughts myself, the news of Arina's death shook me to the core. It shook everyone because no one expected it from such a happy and giving soul and because very, very, very few people knew that she wasn't well. Though sometimes ending one's life feels like the easier choice, it is never easier on everyone you leave behind. And this is exactly why more and more of us need to start talking about our minds before waiting for someone to give us the permission do so.

And if you feel like you need permission, here it is.

I'm giving it to you.


Anna Krjatian is the founder and director of The Butterfly and the author of Unmasking Depression. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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3 comments

  • Melissa

    Jun 30, 2015

    Anna, as usual this resonates so strongly with me.
    I moved out of home in September 2011 with a temp job and Centrelink allowance which really isn’t much, but living at home wasn’t an option when it came to my mental and emotional health.
    As you know, dealing with mental illness and the stigma is and always has been a problem, although thankfully it’s getting better although we still have a long way to go.
    My mother’s family refused to acknowledge mental illness despite the fact that everyone except my grandfather was suffering from some form of it. Because of that, I grew up with a very limited understanding of what it was but was personally affected by it.
    I think because society expects people to put on a happy face 24/7 and focus on superficial problems (e.g cellulite or not having enough followers on social media), serious issues get treated like some kind of dead thing that’s been dragged through the house and left rotting.
    My mother never admitted to having Schizophrenia although she mentioned a few times about having depression which she was being medicated for. It was only at her memorial service a few weeks ago that we started opening up about not only her personal battle but how it affected us as a family and as dad said, we did so in the hopes that others who are going through something similar take comfort in knowing that they’re not alone and seek help as soon as possible.
    After the service a family friend came up to me when I was packing around some of the things I’d brought of mum’s for show and tell, she essentially confided in me that she’d suffered from depression towards the end of her degree because she was close to failing after working so hard for so long.
    I find it an honor and privilege when people confide in me with their problems, especially ones relating to mental health because so many people don’t know how to deal with it which I’m guessing is why so many people don’t talk about it. They don’t want to feel judged.
    I’ve also found that writing helps me immensely and purge myself of whatever’s floating around in my head whenever the mood strikes.
    I also wanted to say that it’s completely understandable that after moving out and dealing with your parents’ separation you’d be overwhelmed by everything. I was the same for the first few months. It’s a HUGE life change to deal with, especially if you’re alone when you deal with it.
    Epic kudos to you Anna, a shining light for all to see and to guide others who may have lost their way. :-)

  • Sacha

    May 25, 2015

    What an amazing journey Anna, and thank you for sharing it. I absolutely love this line – “Eventually today became the tomorrow I believed in”. Keep rockin’ this world girl! Sacha x

  • The Intergalactic Empath

    May 25, 2015

    What an honest and heartfelt account of this stage in your life, Anna. To take something so bleak and channel it into a positive force that helps so many others who are hurting- this is truly inspirational.
    Writing is how you channel your purpose of healing and helping others. Don’t ever give it up :) xx


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