(This blog is made up of a variety of funny, quirky and sometimes serious and heavy posts, because that is what makes up who I am. I can’t be one without the other. The following post was written over a year ago, but I am re-posting it now, because these are the kinds of conversations that need to be had, and they need to be had often. )
Depression isn’t always an easy topic to discuss. It is confusing, overwhelming, and often misunderstood. One of the most frustrating things about being depressed is having people tell you that it’s all in your head, that happiness is a choice, or that if you really put your mind to it, you can overcome anything. You can’t just shake off depression any more than you can shake off a cold. It is inside of you, it consumes you, it becomes everything about you. It grabs hold of you with its dark, heavy arms, and pulls you down into a jumbled pile of devastating nothingness.
Depression is sometimes described as a battle that needs to be fought, but to me, that’s only part of it. Living with depression is more than just a struggle. It is finding yourself buried beneath the weight of your own worst emotions, and knowing that your only hope of survival is stay small and hope you make it.
When you are in the true grips of depression, endurance is sometimes the only thing that you’ve got left. Sometimes there is no fight, no kicking or screaming. Sometimes there is only the terrifying sense of drowning in the tears of your own despair. And so you wait. You wait for the storm to pass, and the waters to recede, and you watch for that tiny shimmer of light that means maybe, some day, you will be able to breathe again without it hurting.
I have been there. I have survived the storm, and I came out the other side of it gasping, reaching, and trying desperately to hold onto my freedom like my life depended on it, because it did. That is when your fight truly begins. That is when you battle hard against depression, to hold it back and beat it down. It takes courage, strength, and the kind of blind determination that will keep you going even when you stumble, because you will. It takes faith, and a belief that you are worth fighting for, because you are.
Too often, people with depression struggle alone in silence. There is a certain amount of shame attached to feeling this way, and a worry that other people won’t understand or accept what is happening. It’s hard enough trying to navigate through life during the best of times; it’s almost unimaginable trying to do it when you are depressed. Yet, as scary as it is, we need to reach out and talk to each other, share our stories, and ask for help (even if we think we don’t need it). We need to hold on to one another, and also to hold each other up. We need each other to survive. No one should ever be expected to survive this on their own. We are stronger together, so if you know someone who is struggling with depression, or if you yourself are, reach out, hold on, and don’t let go!