899. Lessons for Escaping the Rabbit Hole
“I want people to understand what depression is so they can help others. But really the purpose of the book was to let all those out in the world who were living with depression know that they’re not alone, know what they’re going through. All these signs and symptoms and thoughts and feelings are actually inverted commas, normal for depression. They’re not crazy. They’re not abnormal. They’re not weird. This is part of the depression process and I was moving forward and healing all on my own because I had nobody. And they can do it, too. I wanted it to be, you know, that beacon of hope and encouragement.”
Tracy Maxfield is a nurse, stop bullying/mental health advocate, and educator. In 2015, she experienced an acute depressive episode due to work place bullying and plummeted down the rabbit hole. Her book, “Escaping the Rabbit Hole: My Journey Through Depression,” documents her journey. She has appeared on podcast, radio/ TV shows globally, and has a YouTube channel and an online course, Mental Illness in Children and Teenagers: What You Need to Know. Her philosophy is to Engage children and teenagers to Educate them about mental illness/bullying, and to Empower them to develop confidence and skills to continue to move ahead in their own journey.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“My psychologist said that I should write down every day what I am grateful for. So that’s what I did, but I think I went on automatic pilot and just started writing down lines of words. And I thought, there’s got to be more to this. I am missing something. I decided to go back to talk to him. The very next day I went outside and the snow had started to melt and there was a purple crocus peeking through the snow. The first thing that struck me was the vibrancy of the color, this deep, deep, deep purple against the white of the snow. And I thought, ‘Oh my, what a beautiful color!’ And then I started thinking spring is coming, new growth. And the flower has fought its way through the harshness of winter to show its head for spring. All of a sudden it was like that light bulb moment! I suddenly understood what gratitude was. It was embracing and expressed in moments of joy amongst everything that’s going on in your life. Life continues, but you still see new life, new growth, happiness, the sun reflecting off the lake. And for that moment, I had complete peace. I was not consumed in the rabbit hole. I was smiling, looking at this beautiful crocus. That was the pivotal moment.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. “I look upon everything good or bad as a learning experience. And you have to take from it what you do.”
2. “We all know that ‘sticks and stones can break my bones. Words will never hurt me.’ That is so not true! Hurtful, horrible words are like acid into your brain. And it is etched their forever.”
3. “My parents wanted me to go to university. I wanted to be a nurse. They were completely against it. I was adamant, so I secretly applied to nursing schools and actually was accepted. When I explained to them what I was going to do, they wanted me to prove that I could be not just a nurse, but the best nurse. I took a year off and I worked with people with dementia: teenagers, children with special needs, babies with special needs. I went the whole gamut to prove that I could actually care for any population group. And of course, it was natural to me. It was something that I’d always wanted to do. Some people are born caregivers and born nurturers, and I received such good reports and comments from everyone that, when the time came for me to move to the nursing school, there was no problem.”
4. “I went to nursing school in Swansea which is a city in Wales about 45 minutes away from my home. And I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It was my passion, you know. It awakened everything in me that I always wanted to do and become.”
5. “In 1992 I had my first episode of depression and that was related to my family situation back in Wales. I was still in touch with them, but I had decided after an incident in 1991 to sever all ties with my father. Then I received a call at 3:00 AM from my family telling me that I needed to speak with my father because he was trying to attempt suicide and that I needed to talk him out of it. After all that I’d gone through with him and the history that we’d had, what I really wanted to say was—’just do it.’ But as a nurse and as a human being, I couldn’t, and I had to talk him out of it. It took a toll on me and led into my first episode of depression.”
On Her Bookshelf
Escaping the Rabbit Hole: My Journey Through Depression, by Tracey Maxfield
Connecting With Tracey Maxfield
Website & Blog: traceymaxfield.com
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Free audio version of her book: Escaping the Rabbit Hole: My Journey Through Depression
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Careers: Author, Educator, Nurse, stop bullying/mental health advocate
Topics: Bullying, Depression