Life is hard. As someone with seasonal depression, those words used to spark a bitter laugh, but as someone who's been in and out of therapy since middle school, I know all about how it never seems to end. I remember being a child who stared at the sky, and in such a determined, absolute voice, I would state, "I'm not going to live past 18. Eighteen is the beginning of the end. Eighteen is when it gets harder."
Along with a lot of other things in my past, each day just dragged on and being eighteen couldn't come close enough. I stopped caring about everything, everyone, and especially myself. I was apathetic and empty all the time. I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad. I sometimes felt a spark of happiness that quickly dwindled away as fast as it came. When I'd gone into therapy in eighth grade, I realized I had no clue how to socialize and I was terrified of myself. I was terrified of being happy because I thought happiness was temporary and I felt like there was no point in socializing because everyone would leave.
Therapy isn't like how it is in the movies. You sit in a chair, of course, but the therapist isn't always going to say "How does that make you feel?" After all, how do you answer something you don't know the answer too? They lead you along, they listen, and offer advice and sort out your mind. They aren't supposed to say anything to your family without your consent and they provide that little space you can call your own, which I think is one of the most important things to have.
It takes strength to get up and start the day, especially when all you want to do is stay in bed and to curl up. It's like you're telling your mind to move, to get up, to do something, but it feels like your body isn't even your own and you're on autopilot. It takes so much effort to shower when you feel too disgusting for a world that doesn't deserve you, despite other's telling you how important you are.
It take courage to be able to speak your mind, to tell someone in a shaking voice and heated eyes that you need help. You aren't weak for needing help. It takes a long time to open up about how you feel and you've fought each day silently. You aren't weak.
Those thoughts, those ideas that you think of when you look at a certain item, those aren't true. You are important. You deserve kindness and patience. You deserve to feel happy. Those dark jokes that hold a little more than simple truth about how you feel about yourself, those aren't true. You don't deserve to be a joke, you don't deserve to die.
I'm 20 years old now, a junior in college. I may have to go back to therapy soon because Fall is settling in, but I've really grown in the past few months. I realized I can make people laugh, even when the joke isn't about me. I'm still trying to understand emotions, but communication isn't common sense for me; At least I'm putting in the effort.
It does get better. The scary bit is always taking the first step. The harder part is keeping in the effort. Don't get angry if you slip up, slips happen. But, it doesn't mean you're back at step one. Make sure to catch yourself when you notice it.
You deserve patience.
- Yes, My Depression Is Real, No, I Can't 'Control' It ›
- Ten Steps to Empowering the Depressed Mind ›
- Why We Need To Seriously Talk About Depression ›
- Being Depressed Does Not Make You Lazy ›
- Depression Reflection ›
- Mental Health Awareness for Teens | University of Nevada, Reno ›
- Mental Health Month - Raising Mental Health Awareness ›
- Mental Health Month | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness ›
- Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms and causes ... ›
- Depression Center: Symptoms, Causes, Medications, and Therapies ›