I Have Been Here Before: Reflections on Chronic Depression

By May 14, 2018Blog

For me depression is cyclical. I will be going about my day to day life for a good long stretch, doing fine emotionally and physically, when the first aura of depression hits. It is so familiar now that I recognize it immediately. I feel tired and nervous. In the background of my mind I begin to replay all the ways I have failed, today, yesterday, everyday… forever. In the foreground of my mind I have to fight to focus on the here and now. When I feel this way, the temptation is strong to run to my bed and pull the covers over my head, to hide in the safety of my own room rather than face the world.

Because I know it gets worse and I am afraid of what I know is coming.

I know how much hate I will inflict on myself internally when the depression hits full force. How I will tear myself to pieces in my mind and blame myself for my disease. I know how isolated I will feel walking through the halls of my work and my church pretending to be okay because I live in a world where it is not okay to not be okay—- and I know how fragile I will feel admitting to my husband that I am struggling with depression, although he already knows.

I know because I have been here before… on this path dark and narrow

But I also know that it gets better. It gets better when I get it off my chest. When I whisper to my husband, “I am feeling depressed. Please help me,” and he hugs me close as he whispers back, “I love you. It is going to be okay. You are going to make it through this.”

I know that after I have walked through the days where I force myself to push aside my thoughts of self-hatred and simply put one foot in front of the other, there will come a day when I feel genuinely hopeful. There will come a day when the path brightens and I can see the progress I have made. How this time the depression came and went without me feeding its destruction through self-harm.

The spiral trajectory of my disease is infuriating because I wish so much that I could always live in that place of hope, where I am transparent and at peace with who I am. Chronic illness is a bitter pill, be it physical or mental. Still I recognize the strength of recognizing the spiral. Hope and depression ebb and flow…

Because I have been here before—

I can choose to make my decisions in the bright light of the hopeful days.

Because I have been here before—

I can cling to that lifeline of hope when depression comes around again.

Because I have been here before—

I am admitting my struggle with depression right now when I feel hopeful and resilient so that you can know it is okay with me if you are not okay.

I understand if you feel desperately afraid of your own mental spiral. If you feel strong enough to reach out, to share your own struggle with mental illness, know that I will not stigmatize you— And more importantly there are in your own world people who will not stigmatize you. Who will remind you of the truth:

You are strong. You are loved. You have been here before and you will make it through this.

 

 

4 Comments

  • Judi Z says:

    So beautifully written and true heartfelt expression of how difficult those of us who have depression struggle but carry on for better days…..

  • TRex says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I was frantically searching for a lifeline today to pull me out of a dark spiral. And there you were. Identified with every word and was especially moved by your husband’s words of support. Hope is there…for now. You are my gratitude for today. Peace

  • Rita says:

    This is new for me and so frightening. Have seen a doctor, of course put me on meds, which add to my depression and anxiety. Hating this and losing hope.

  • Barbara L says:

    After a frustrating and anxious day waiting for a call back from my psychiatrist and being told I’d just have to “be patient”, this piece spoke to me in a caring and personal way that allowed me to exhale for the first time in hours. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

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