Recently, I was approached by someone very important in my life and was asked if they could do a guest post here on my blog. The following is written by them.
“For the past few months, I’ve been battling a war that seems to have no end. I feel like I’ve failed, but there’s no emotion to describe what that feeling is other than numbness. I feel like the ones I love are going to up and leave at any moment and they have every right to. I’m afraid to get close to people, because in the end you end up with a heart crushing good bye. I look back and see who I once was, and that just makes it worse because I feel like I’ve lost myself.
I’ve been afraid to tell people. After all, I’m supposed to be stronger than this, I’m supposed to be happy. I haven’t had anything traumatic happen to me, so why should I be in this state? Why am I not strong enough to fight this? It’s selfish to be feeling this way when I know people who have been through much worse than me.”
It just seemed easier to shut down. To, sleep. To, ignore reality. To, in all honesty, quit.
Depression is scary not because your sad, but because you can’t feel. Because you know you aren’t okay, but there’s no true reason. It can be frustrating on those you love and you know that, so you want to keep to yourself even more. But the thing is, it’s okay to need people. It’s okay to let them in; it’s okay to not be okay.
I don’t think I’ve fully embraced this concept, but I want to share how it’s helped in some ways.
Over the summer, I spent my first few weeks back home sleeping all day, crying, not eating. You know, just existing. Until one day, I’d had enough. I knew the one person I could go to was my mom, not because she has the answer to everything, but because she’s a listener, and a hugger, and you just get the feeling that everything will be okay even when it’s not okay. She didn’t tell me it was in my head, that I was strong enough to beat this. She didn’t ask for an explanation as to why I was sad. She just listened. And she hugged me and said, “I love you.” And though I didn’t feel anything, I knew it was true. And I told myself that every morning.
Another person I reached out to was my best friend. She could empathize with me and knew that I didn’t need a lecture, just a friend. I’d go to her house and cry, or sleep, or watch a movie. She’d ask what I wanted to do, I’d say nothing, and she’d say okay and we’d sit in silence for hours. I treasured that silence more than any therapy session I sat through.
Together, we made a plan. I wrote what I liked about myself, even though I didn’t really like myself at the time. I wrote what activities I enjoyed doing the most, and though it seemed overwhelming, I made a promise to them and myself to try.
I let myself be weak, and allowed the strength of my family and best friend to carry me.
The summer went on, and with each day, I began to be better. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t annoyed. But I was okay. I started singing again, I began painting. I made that half hour drive to the bookstore and got Starbucks on the way home. I allowed myself to dream,, and get excited for what was to come. I began to go outside more. There were mornings I didn’t want to wake up, there were mornings when the darkness overwhelmed me and I knew for that day, I’d have to stay put and rest. But I didn’t have to be alone when those days came. I couldn’t be, even when I wanted to.
I don’t want to go into the details of why I became depressed, because that’s not important and I honestly can’t pinpoint what triggered it. But this one thing I do know: I’m living with it one day at a time; slowly breathing in and out. Allowing myself to live even though it scares me. So, I’m hoping maybe I can help you understand that it doesn’t get easier, that you can’t will yourself out of depression, but it can get better. You’ve just got to be willing to let better happen.
If I can help you understand anything, I want it to be this: you are not your depression. It doesn’t define you, it doesn’t make you who you are. It doesn’t mean you’re incompetent, it doesn’t mean you aren’t loveable, it doesn’t mean you’re an attention seeker. I want you to know that it’s okay to not be strong all the time, it’s okay to let others love you, it’s okay to be upset, but it’s also okay to allow yourself to heal.”