One of the best gifts I have received since opening up about my struggles with depression and anxiety are the numerous people who have reached out to say they are on this path as well. Some have thanked me for sharing the dark parts of my journey and were just glad to not feel so alone.
I wasn’t dealt the easiest hand in life, though I am incredibly blessed, but that doesn’t matter because depression doesn’t care about that. It’s hard for those of us in that darkness, and for those that stand with us, to see how strong the lies depression tell us can push us down.
The thing about living with depression is that it doesn’t last forever. Brighter days will and do come. They might not last long, but they should still be treasured. Those are the days, the ones we feel most alive and most complete are worth every minute in the depths of darkness.
When I think of darkness in depression I think of exhaustion and vulnerability. Helpless, even. Like starring up from the bottom of a pit and seeing the rest of the world and realizing that they can’t possibly see where you are at. The world surrounding you looks much different than theirs, and it can be scary, terrifying. Your world is made up of your deepest fears, messages designed to hurt you and destroy you by the most horrible way possible… Yourself. It is hard to tell who is the monster, you, or the depression.
I like that imagery of depression as a monster. The things depression has made me believe about myself, the things depression has made me try to do, are fearsome. Also, like monsters, we know that these beliefs are not real. But they are cunning and while we are in that pit watching the rest of the world go about happily, the monsters can seem like the realist thing there is. It just so happens my monsters have wanted me dead.
And they almost succeeded. But thank God they did not. This fight has been tough, and I know it won’t be the last. This certainly wasn’t the first. However, I’m learning how to fight better. I have a great battle strategy, know which weapons work, and have gathered my allies. In a depression you have to figure out how to survive. We can do the hard things.
Depression isn’t linear road with two points, a start and finish. If anything it’s a shitty roller coaster at the edge of the pit that sometimes gets stuck on the tracks and almost always gives you whiplash. So sometimes it starts to get better, easier, before careening back down the pit again. And you feel worse. And maybe you feel like a failure, you’re not. Maybe you feel like you’re alone, you’re not. Other people are there, trying to feel their way blindly to the surface while doing what depression is telling them can’t do, survive. And still there are others who have been there, more than you could probably know.
Once out of the pit we get a special gift. I know I have been given one. That gift is to be able to see the people who are still in the fearful darkness of that pit and be able to reach out to them and help them find their way back into the light.