This is a story about depression.
This is a story of a girl.
While you cannot see or feel the things that she experiences, you can get a glimpse of what it is like to live with depression. Try and imagine it. Every day, when she wakes up she is filled with a perpetual sensation of being lost. She feels stuck in a place surrounded by utter darkness. As helpless as she feels, the darkness is a familiar companion. There is a feeling of disappointment the moment she wakes up because she realizes she is still alive, and it is yet another day for her to get through.
Habitual things are tiresome. Waking up is exhausting, getting dressed is exhausting, and having to communicate with people is exhausting. Everything takes too much effort. There is a void that cannot be filled and her emptiness was insatiable.
Even though she has an arsenal of supports, she feels alone.
She wants to withdraw and she does, but for how long can she isolate herself? She talks less and everything about her grows quieter.
She wishes she could fade away so she no longer has to endure the pain that screams within her. It’s eating her. She cries herself to sleep wishing that it would end. It never ends. She pities herself for feeling broken. She can’t be fixed.
People often say, “What’s wrong?” “You’ll get over it” “Don’t be such a kid” “You’re so dramatic” “It’s just hormones.” IS IT?
Is it “just hormones” when you look in the mirror and you hate yourself because you feel like you’re not good enough, pretty enough, and smart enough?
The face that looks back at you seems to be whispering, “You’re weak.” What does self worth even mean? She is drowning. She is choking on her own air. She asks herself, “what purpose do I have? I am suffocating. I have nothing. I am nothing.”
She tells herself that night “I can’t do it anymore. I’m sick of this. This has to end.”
This girl? She was me. I’ve dealt with depression for years and it has been a roller coaster of ups and downs with days that plateaued or sunk lower and lower into the abyss where I felt like I was being swallowed alive.
There were days that I wished that I could have just ended things. That I could have just walked out. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I had a mentor that once told me “Try to see this as an opportunity to grow and maybe one day you’ll see your depression as a blessing.”
How in the world is depression supposed to be a blessing? I was confused and infuriated because my depression had given me nothing but pain. So I decided to reflect on that and what it could mean for me. And I began to realize a few things.
My depression has allowed me to be more empathetic. It has allowed me to be more sensitive to what other people are experiencing. It placed in me a desire to help others. I look deeper into what hope means and I feel a sense of joy focusing on the needs of others instead of wallowing in my own self-pity.
I realized that my depression does not define who I am because ultimately, I hold that power in my life. I have the power to choose how I live my life. I can be consumed by my depression or I can make the conscious steps to be better.
These realizations did not come to me over night. I reached out to the community for help and I was lavished with love and support.
Depression does not magically disappear and suddenly your life is all good again. It requires work. Hard work. It means seeking help from your friends and family. Perhaps talking to a doctor. Seeking counselling. Keeping your life busy because when you allow yourself to have too much time to just sit and ruminate, you are feeding your depression.
Fighting depression is not a losing battle but it is also not one that just requires one good kick and it’s over. It’s continuous and you must never give up. You must never give in to the lies that depression feeds you.
What has kept me going all these years is knowing that there is always good in this world. There are good things in my life. There are always things to take delight in. Finding those moments of peace and simplicity means everything. Being thankful and being kind goes a long way. And constantly repeating to myself, “I can rise above this.”