Sometimes it nibbles at my conscious – I’m not even always aware of it until I realize how much I’ve lost. Slips in and out, like a fly and an open window. I remain mindless until it is humming by me disrupting my every move.
Other times, it swallows me whole and all at once. I am helpless – I succumb to it. I have no control and eventually, desire. I have no upper hand in this battle. It knows my every move. Like a plant finding themselves amid winter, there is no hiding. It always finds me.
My depression always the same. It keeps me up, yet other times keeps me asleep. It’s predictable, even when it’s not.
But, the same rules apply to how I fall out of it. There are moments when I find myself throughout the day smiling about a memory or an interaction, and I feel the real warmth of happiness. Slowly, the sun seeps into my pores and I feel whole again. I feel connected and validated.
There are times when I fall out of a depressive state where it’s like jumping into a pool for the first time all summer. I’m dry when I jump off the diving board, but the second I hit the water I can’t imagine what it’s like to be dry again. I’ve submerged in water and hope alike. Sometimes it feels like a revelation. A shift in my being.
I finally, feel happiness again.
It’s not always pretty, it’s not always ugly – but it always is.
I’ve been battling my depression for nearly 7 years now. For most of my life when things got tough for me, I chose to isolate, survival mode in full effect. I’d block out everything and turn on my tunnel vision. This made me feel strong because I didn’t have to depend on anyone else for anything, and I usually get myself out of every funk I’ve ever been in.
It took years of isolation, self rebuttals, and self-destruction to identify the problem.
For me, isolation is easy. I can block and tune everyone out with no problem. It’s easy for me to be alone. But that’s exactly the issue – I can’t spend the rest of my life alone.
I didn’t realize that my problems with depression and isolation intertwine until I found myself completely alone at rock bottom and unwilling to ask for help because I was utterly convinced that asking for help made me weak. This misconception could, and can, be deadly. Asking for help didn’t make me weak, it opened me up and allowed me to connect with others. There is strength in vulnerability. And it takes an incredible amount of bravery to admit that I was not okay and was falling down a rabbit hole. There are strength and courage in wanting to get better.
So after all this time of fighting my mental health battles in the dark, I decided to start seeing a therapist. I was done with letting myself suffer in silence and disguising it as toughness. How ironic that I had spent my whole life convincing myself that I was strong for keeping my battles to myself only to completely open myself up to a stranger.
But, it helped. It continues to help. I still go through my depressive bouts but I don’t do them alone anymore. I’m open about my struggles with someone who cares to help me and see me not only survive but excel.
Not everyone has the same fight with all mental illnesses. Some are more debilitating than others, and some are hidden more than others. I don’t think that having depression is an easy fix and can be avoided by opening myself up. However, I let my depression get as bad as it did because I refused help. When I finally let down my walls and put away my ego is when I saw actual progression in my mental health. My depression found its way to me no matter how good I hid from others. It was already inside me, so continuing to put up a front only hurt me deeper.
But finding in and fighting it from the inside out is the only way I saw real healing. Pursing therapy saved my life. It saved my spirit. I recognize that my depression is going to be a life-long battle, however, I finally feel well equipped to take it on.