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The Asterisk That Follows a 'Good Day' When You Have Depression


I have depression. I am no longer in a bout of depression, but I still have depression.

In these months where I have finally been recovering from and overcoming the cloud of nothingness that consumed me, each good day I have has an asterisk attached.

The asterisk is the contingency plan to me being happy. 

It’s saying to myself, “this has been a good week, but what if it doesn’t last?” 

It’s wanting to hold down a part-time job but wondering if my health will suffer for it.

It is the odd bad hour or bad day that strikes immense fear into you:

‘”What if I’m sick again?”

You see, by going through depression and now recovery, I have learned it is less of a well with no way out, because I escaped, but rather it is the constant threat of terror. You can get out of the well, but you can’t move more than a footstep away from it; you fear the fall back in.

I frame it this way: When depression hits it is like being held hostage in your own house. The very fiber of your being is frozen under the red light of a laser that is hell bent on shattering you to pieces. The attacker hold its arms around you so you cannot move. 

It is suffocating. The clutch is claustrophobic, and the fear asphyxiates you.

Then, when the threat stands down after a long, tumultuous ordeal, you can move again. This is recovery. Good days, weeks, months are to follow. Your family are pleased because you’re better now, right? You can get that job now, you can socialize like you did before. You are OK now. Yet, there is always the asterisk, a bit like this; 

Good day*

You are still  traumatized and tired of having gone through what you’ve gone through. There are reminders here and there — the way your tears now resemble your tears then when you were dead set on dying. Bad, irrepressible memories linger. Now though, you are in recovery, and surely nothing can be as bad as that time.

*but the attacker is still in your house and you don’t know when or if it strike again

So, loved one, please bear this in mind. Just because I am not struggling now does not mean I have not struggled. I am not yet recovered, and the attacker that threatened me within an inch of my life still lives in my house. So, when I am not living by your standards of “happy,” know I need to go at my own pace. I am still fragile and don’t want to provoke anything I endured again. 

Know that I am trying my best, but my good days* are not like your good days.

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

Image via Thinkstock.