Learning That Healing From Depression Is a Process

I have depression. I am not depression.

I can be depressed for long periods of time, and I can be happy for long periods of time, too. I have depression. But I am absolutely not depression. Even if sometimes it feels that way. Even if sometimes it feels like it will succeed in crushing every corner of my mind.

The dark periods can last months with little break in between, which in turn can consume us with guilt for the burden we feel we place on our families and friends. It’s not uncommon to resent ourselves for having depression in the first place. We can get sick of hearing ourselves having to reply to “How are you doing?” with “I’m not good today” — while we worry whoever asked us is thinking “I don’t even care anymore. I’m sick of hearing how sad you are” (even if they’re not thinking that at all). When I am in the real depths of it, I’m crying every day. Everything is hard. Eating is hard, thinking is hard, working is exhausting, parenting is difficult.

Each and every time I have the thought that “I need this to stop,” I’m scared — because I worry this will be the day I snap and I won’t even know it. And that will be the end of me.

In addition to the dark days though, there are light days, too — and at the moment I am on a roll of light days. I’m not kidding myself, though. I know it probably won’t last, and some people might see that as a negative way to think, but it’s just me being honest about it all. I am done with being disappointed in myself when the dark has come back after I thought I was magically better. So it would be ignorant of me to assume all my dark days are done. They’re not, and that’s OK.

I know in my heart I still have a lot of work to stagger through, and I know I am far from done in finding myself. Many of us are.

I am far from accessing the parts of me I need to access to heal, and while that is incredibly daunting, it’s a little bit exciting. I can only grow from here. Light days like this help me feel incredibly reflective on my situation as a whole. They give me a chance to see patterns and signs I may have missed during a dark time, because when I’m already there, there is no room for reflection on myself. There is no insight into what is going on or why I’ve dived into it — because all I can see are tears, darkness and a fog that lingers around my head.

I can only see clearly when I am not there.

When I am in the dark place, I often feel like it is all my fault, that I am doing this to myself, that I like being in that place. But when I’m in the light days when I finally come out, I can see I don’t like being there, that it’s not my fault.

I can see and understand that no one would want to be there by choice. I can’t ever imagine wanting to do that to myself, because it hurts too much to be there. I don’t believe anyone choses to be there. Not even me. Not even when I think I do.

When I have been feeling as good as I have been over the last week or so, I can truly reflect on how my depression affects me at different times, and how little control I have over it — and myself at that time. I can see that no matter how much I want to try and help myself during those times, sometimes I can’t, because at that point I am exactly where I need to be, regardless of how sh*tty that feels. Part of having depression and learning to heal is also learning to trust the process.

I am slowly but surely coming to terms with the idea that this depression I go into is part of my journey, and while mostly I absolutely hate it, each time I come out I’ve learnt a little bit. Each time, a little bit. One step closer to feeling healed.

I am also no fool; I know I will never be free of my issues, but I will learn to cope with them in better ways.

But one thing perhaps we can all do is try and learn from it: learn from the pain, think and feel the process, know the signs, know your triggers, be aware of your feelings when you know the dark is coming so the next time it doesn’t come as such a shock.

I know in my heart the pain will slowly fade if you want to do the work. You have to do the work, and even after doing the work you might never feel “fixed.” We can heal. We can put bandages over the wounds that come off in time, and the wound won’t be so big or sore. You’ll be happier, or even a little content for having trusted in yourself. There are going to be good days, and there are going to be bad days.

Trust in yourself. Trust in the process.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Follow this journey on Adjust Remembered.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

woman wearing boots waiting for metro train

When I Heard Someone Say Some Depressed People 'Don't Want to Get Better'

Last night I heard a comment that, at the moment, hurt my feelings. The comment was not directed at me, so after stewing for a few minutes, my attitude changed from hurt to just plain sad. Sad about the gap that exists between those with depression and those without. The comment was about how some [...]
a woman covering her face with her hands

When Resisting Depression Makes It Worse

It’s one of those days. The pull to stay in bed all day and hide from the world is the only thing I can do. Nothing bad happened. No one hurt my feelings. I just want to disappear from this dread and despair. Depression. Today, it physically hurts. The anxiety I am carrying in my [...]
group of friends putting their hands together at the beach

Why Finding ‘Your Tribe’ Is So Important When You Live With a Mental Illness

Like many people with anxiety and depression, I have always done a good job at hiding it. If you were to meet me, you would find a young woman with two children, a successful career, an outgoing personality and a boat load of ambition. You wouldn’t guess underneath it all was an incredible darkness that [...]
close-up of hands climbing a ladder

Why We Have to Carry On in the Battle With Mental Illness

A few minutes ago I was doing my makeup, browsing Buzzfeed and enjoying a binge of Netflix. Now, I have tears and wet mascara streaming down my face. Nothing triggered this episode. No one insulted me. No one died. There’s nothing sad happening in this exact moment. So why, then, must my body force out [...]