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Shania Twain talked openly on Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network about her depression following the collapse of her marriage to Robert Lange, “a very deep, dark slump,” and how she forced herself back into life again. “I had to force myself back out into life, back into experiencing things,” the country music star recently said.

Like many of us, she experienced a kind of apathy to the world. “There were moments when I really just thought, I don’t need anything and I don’t need anyone. I just want to go away and disappear.”

Her words are simple, and yet profound. She had to force herself back into life.

I remember feeling that way as I came out of my most severe depression in early 2006, and I’m experiencing shades of it today as I wrestle with my brain to move toward recovery, away from the Black Hole of sadness.

Like Shania, I have had to do what’s counterintuitive: say yes to every invitation I get, literally forcing myself back into the world. She’s right in that, as you’re climbing to the surface of the Black Hole, you want nothing more than to isolate and disappear. But there is great healing in connecting with friends and neighbors, fellow moms and family.

The other thing I do when I’m crawling back to life is to repeat this mantra to myself as many times as I need to: “I will get better.” My great aunt, Gigi, who also experienced a nervous breakdown at the age of 35, told me to keep on repeating that until I began to believe it.

I talk more about it in this video.

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