When Giving Up Your Depression Is Like Finding a New Home

Sometimes, I love my symptoms. But I’m not allowed to say it.

Who is it that’s keeping me from saying it? Truth be told, I’m not really sure. It’s one of those general social pressures that I inadvertently center my life around. If your illness is a real illness, you have to hate — absolutely hate it — and you have to let everyone know it. If you don’t do this, then no one will take you seriously.

But you know what? I’m done.

I’m done pretending. I’m done telling only the version of my story that people can understand. I’m done telling the “socially pre-approved version” because it’s not true. This is how I really feel about my symptoms.

Some of them are evil. They are death himself, and I have fought long and hard to rid myself of my abusive relationship with him. These are the ones that tether me to my bed and make me indifferent to life. These are the ones that push me to the edge. These are the ones that stare back at me when I look in the mirror so that I can’t see myself at all.

Some of them are sweet. They come to me at my breaking point and swipe away all reality, and, for a little while, it is beautiful. I am not me. I am not anyone. I don’t exist. I see the world in distant blurs, and I embrace the familiar crush of nothingness.

All of them kept me alive.

All of them are hard to let go of.

What’s that saying? “If you love something, let it go.” Well, that’s become my adage for recovery.

You see, sometimes I need the pain back. I feel like I need the darkness and the numbness and the feeling of death. I grew up knowing it, and, whether I like it or not, it became home. It’s still home — that one familiar and unchanging place that I always return to even when I don’t mean to.

Sometimes, I’m terrified that if I let go of my symptoms, it will come to pass that they were right all along. When they told me to lock myself in my house, they were right. When they told me never to trust anyone, they were right. When they told me that no one could ever love me, they were right.

Peace and happiness are welcome in my life for only a moment. If they linger any longer, they are the objects of fear and suspicion. My symptoms tell me that they should be.

But I have to let them go.

One by one.

Piece by piece.

I tear down the home I’ve known since I was a child. I stand in the growing piles of rubble and mourn its loss. I stand in the emptiness and let the panic rise in my chest, trusting that one day it will subside. When it does, there will be peace.

For now, there are tears and fear and the unrelenting unknown. But somewhere, out in that terrible unknown, there is a new home waiting. Waiting in pieces for me to put it together.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock image via ondatra-m

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