Yesterday I spent some time talking with my best friend about depression because as it turns out, talking really helps. Now, I think I’ve been fairly open about this mental illness that plagues me but I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about what happens during the “upswing” as I like to call it. I don’t know that I could call it an upswing though because it’s not necessarily a pendulum. It’s an uphill climb with peaks, valleys and plateaus. It’s a process really. But that is beside the point. Or is it? Stay focused.
Back to the point. No one really talks about this part of depression, well no one really talks about any part of it because it’s super taboo. I’m just going to get it out there though. For me, depression always has seasons. They aren’t always the same time of the year or the same intensity but the thing that remains the same is the fight to pull yourself out of it. Some people take medicine and others go with more natural remedies but, being uneducated about it for most of my life, I just kinda thought I would snap out of it eventually.
That being said, regardless of what path you take, a time will come when you feel yourself starting to get better. It might have been a few consecutive days that you’ve been feeling positive, or maybe you’ve laughed at more funny cat pictures lately. Whatever it is, you’ll notice it eventually. So you get there and all of the sudden you’re hit with a thought.
“What if I was faking it the whole time?”
It’s like you’re telling yourself that you made up your depression as an excuse for just being a little grumpy about things. Let me tell you, that will knock you back down. I don’t know many people who claim to have depression that do not have it. I mean sure, there’s the common phrase ‘that’s depressing’ but it’s not a pretty illness and believe me, no one wants to admit it.
If you have suffered from depression I want to tell you one thing. Just because you are okay now does not mean that at one point you were not. Your happiness now or in the future does not discredit what you have felt before. You were not faking it. Maybe your friends and family don’t understand what you’ve gone through, I know it’s difficult. I know that as hard as it may be to comprehend, it was real. It was not just a dream or your imagination. Above all of that though, I want to tell you that you are not alone.
Looking back at my life, I didn’t know that I had depression until I was a sophomore in college. And even though I can’t remember much of my childhood, I believe it began in the summer before I started high school. So that was six years of not understanding what I was feeling and then another maybe three years before I finally accepted it. These last few years have been a struggle as I try to find out the depth of this illness and how it affects my brain but it’s something that needs to be done. You should never feel shame about talking about it.
I know that maybe this blog post isn’t going to be the big revelation you needed to feel comfortable with it but I do hope it helped you in some way. For those of you who feel like you’ll never get better, don’t give up. There are people out there who can help you. If it’s a friend, a therapist or your regular doctor. It may be the scariest thing you ever do but you can win. I know you can. Always keep fighting.