You don't have to hold onto the pain to hold onto the memory.
Depression is the most awe-inspiring magic trick.
It can show you just how strong you are while showing you just how weak. It can rob you of who you think you are and everything you know. It is the brain’s expertly executed sleight of hand.
As someone who has struggled for the last ten years to understand what the fuck is wrong with me, being able to have a name for it was the first step.
It’s taken most of those ten years to get to the next step of letting go of the shame and guilt.
And even then, it’s a rollercoaster, one that I am for the first time in my life spending an hour every Monday morning with a doctor trying to understand why I ride.
I’ve spent the last two years so embarrassed that I was feeling this YET AGAIN. And that’s the thing with depression. It repeats and it hovers and it grows stronger with each victory over you. And it shames you. The further it creeps in, the more secretive it feels. It becomes so impossible to imagine telling anyone what’s going on with you or why you never return phone calls or emails or show up for events. You forget how to answer. You forget how to fake it.
You just forget. You forget all of it. You forget how to try because trying is the hardest part.
But then, it slowly creeps away. Not by accident and not by choice. By will? By grace? I don’t know, but it takes work. SO much work. But it goes, just S L O W L Y. As seductively as it slithered in, it lifts from your shoulders and crawls out of your guts and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened and where the last two years went.
And you don’t feel ashamed anymore. And you sit down in front of your computer and tell a bunch of strangers just that.
Because you know it’s time, finally. And because you remember the posts and tweets from people going through the same thing that you read along the way that stuck with you and reminded you that you’re not the only one.
The ones that said, “Never forget, depression is a liar.”
The ones that said, “Note to self: This will be a lifelong battle. Today I feel good and I may not tomorrow, but I’ll keep trying.”
The ones that said, “Don’t be ashamed.”
And so you sit. And you write. And you know that this is part of climbing out of it.
Because you don’t have to hold onto the pain. It holds onto you all by itself.
You know that feeling you get when you come home after a long day of work or bullshit or just LIFE and you close the door behind you and feel safe and relieved and proud because you got through it and collapsing onto your couch was the goal and you’re one pair of comfortable pants away from it?
That’s love. If you find a person who makes you feel that way, do everything you can to keep them around.