The "D" Word
I've struggled with depression for as long as I can remember and always wrestled with shame for feeling everything so deeply. In the past, I consistently tried to run from my emotions, fearing if I let them in, I'd never be able to escape them. And, I figured if I couldn't escape them, I'd never be whole, or enough, or worthy of happiness.
As I am growing older, I am recognizing many people deal with depression and anxiety. People just don't talk about it. We need to though!
It does not make us broken. It just makes us human.
And maybe in the terrifying honesty of admitting what we struggle with, we can help someone else feel like they're not alone, or like they're seen; because isn't that what we all hope for?
I recently read the words: "depression feels like being empty and trying to convince the rest of the world you're somehow full." Those words ring so true for me. My depression comes in tidal waves. It catches me off guard. Sometimes it wakes me up in the middle of the night and other times it hits me when I'm out with friends, in the midst of a good laugh. It comes so fast and when it goes, it leaves just long enough to make me believe that maybe, just maybe I've escaped it and the sadness won't return. But it comes back. It always does, oftentimes without rhyme or reason. Some days I feel like I can't breathe, or like I can't lift myself out of bed. The sadness lingers in my chest and makes me feel so utterly empty. But on good days, I can't find a single ounce of unhappiness inside of me. It's funny how that works. Depression leaves without a trace, yet when it's here, it demands to be felt.
My fight with depression is exhausting and if I'm being honest, it terrifies me. One of my biggest fears is that I will struggle with depression my entire life. And, that thought inevitably leads to so many other fears: what if I never feel like I'm enough; what if I never am truly happy; what if something inside of me is so broken that another person will never be able to love me? Depression is good at that. It takes every fear you have and magnifies them. It makes you feel small and unworthy. It's all too good at belittling you. But let me tell you, you and I, we are deserving of happiness, and love, and every good thing.
Whether it be that it makes me stronger, reveals more of myself to me with each heartache, or it simply gives me a voice to write things like this; I have to believe that something good comes of these seasons in my life. And isn’t it true, sometimes we need the lows to recognize the highs.
I don't know why some of us struggle with it and others don't. I’m not sure why our stories have to know pain so well. I can only hope that someday I'll be able to recognize myself in the absence of sadness, and that through all of this aching, I'll someday find healing. I will never stop hoping and believing for it.
If you're struggling with this too, I pray you find a sense of hope and that you cling to it and never let go. We're much stronger than we think; that, I know to be true.