Here’s another one of those posts. It’s Mental Health Week, and as someone suffering from mental health disorders, as someone who has seen them from family members my whole life, I think it’s finally my turn to share my story.
I know you’ve probably read a lot of posts about how crippling depression can be. And while yes, it is crippling, that’s not really where I’m going with this post, so bear with me.
Here’s a little backstory for all of my readers (or for myself really, I don’t know if you’re reading this post or not… it’s just nice to get it out there):
Two years ago this March, I moved to Austin, Texas. It wasn’t planned, nor did I expect to move here at the time. When I got in that car, this was supposed to be a weekend trip, a short getaway and then it was back to reality. But my reality was scary, and being in a town where I knew nobody and had nothing was far less frightening than going back to my actual home with my actual family.
I’ll put it lightly: I was abused. I won’t go into details because that’s not important.
Now here’s where the story gets important: February 28th, 2014 – I told my family that I wanted to kill myself. And I meant it too. I had already written my suicide note. I had come up with the plan. I hadn’t decided the date yet, but I was going to do it. I had one last thing to do: ask for help. So I told my family.
Depression is kind of a tricky thing. Because my brain told me that I wanted to die. And God, did I want to. I viewed myself so little, so unimportant, so miserable – and death honestly seemed like the best option for everyone. But at the same time, my brain did not want to die either. It decided that maybe if I just told my father, maybe he would talk to me and it would be ok.
Instead of that, my family screamed at me. They threatened me. They told me I was worthless. They told me that I was seeking attention and that I didn’t know what real depression felt like.
So I left.
It’s been almost two years since that day. I have nightmares every single night. I have to take anti-depressants daily. I see a therapist every single week, something I have had to do for over a year now. And even with all of those things helping me, I still have depression.
Now, I will make the negative aspects of my depression short and sweet, because there are a lot of negatives about living with depression:
- I have practically no energy. I sleep all day, every day if I can. I am always tired.
- I don’t have friends. I want to make friends, but I’m too scared to make friends. Because of this, I am lonely and hate myself.
- I used to have hobbies – I don’t anymore. I can’t get myself to do anything. Sometimes, I can’t even get myself to turn on the television. I stare at my ceiling or I cry for hours.
- If I go without my medication, I cannot control myself.
- I still think the bad thoughts sometimes.
But here’s the real deal: I think I’m finally accepting that this is my life right now. And damn, do I have a good life.
Here’s what it’s really like to live with depression: It’s hard. But it’s doable.
I have an amazing family. Not my birth family, because I have my new family. I have my boyfriend. I have his parents and his brother. I have their friends. I have my animals. I have my coworkers. I have my best friend in Ohio.
When I have a hard day, they pick me up. Sometimes literally. Sometimes not. That’s what living with depression is like. Knowing and accepting that sometimes you just can’t do it on your own.
I have to take medicine because I know it makes me happier. I take it every morning. That’s what living with depression is like. Knowing and accepting that sometimes to feel good, you have to make sacrifices.
I have to force myself to eat sometimes. I buy foods that are easy to make and are good for me. Because that’s what living with depression is like – forcing yourself to do things that you just don’t want to, but doing them because you know it’s important.
I have to see my therapist every week. I talk with her and I feel stronger every time. Because living with depression is about taking those baby steps every single day. I slowly take steps forward on my journey. And sometimes I get knocked down and pushed back, but I can see the positives happening.
I have to tell myself that, yes, this is not fair. But it is what it is. Because living with depression sucks. It does, and I won’t sugar coat it. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible.
This week has been especially difficult for me, so I’m sorry for the long-winded post. I just kind of needed to get something out.
It’s been almost six months since I’ve even posted anything. And six months ago, my depression sunk to an all time low. I think now, I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel… and that’s what living with depression is really like. Because damn, do I love living. And sometimes living means having to take the shitty hand, play your strengths, and get on with it. And I’m doing that, I think.