The Pit of Depression, and What's on the Other Side

Imagine you’re walking down a flat surface. Tall, green grass is all around you and the sun is shining. There’s a couple of little clouds, but as you keep walking there’s more and more. Then, you notice they start to get darker. The sun still peeks through.

Suddenly, you stop and look down. You’ve found yourself at the edge of a cliff as tall as the Grand Canyon. The grass has died and there’s a lot of rocks and dirt around you.

You sit down and hang your feet over the edge. You keep thinking, “I’m about to fall and there’s no way out of it.” And it’s tempting to fall. After you hit the ground hard, there’s a bed almost exactly like the one you have at home. There’s pillows and blankets and it can be so comforting. The catch is, you’re chained down once you crawl over into that bed. And you don’t know when you’ll escape — if you’ll escape.

While you’re sitting there, you get a message from your best friend. “Focus on the other side, take the scenic route, go around the pit.”

At first, you’re scared. You can’t see the other side. You have no clue what’s over there. It’s almost more comforting to fall into the pit because you can see it, it doesn’t take faith or strength, it’s easy.

Then, you realize something — you have a damn choice. You stopped. There’s a reason you stopped. You don’t know why, but you did. Now, you have a choice.

Fall into the pit, or, walk around it.

While you wait for the strength to process this information, you lie down, you watch your favorite TV shows and you eat whatever you can. You’re preparing, in part, for the fall. Because you know once you fall, there will be no food.

You get another message — this time from your boyfriend or girlfriend — saying, “I love you.” You’re not used to this. Normally, you’re here alone. Normally, no one is eventually going to come up and hold your hand, but now you have that. And a reason to fight.

You sit back up to think, to figure out what you’re going to do. You weigh out the pros and cons of walking around the pit.

Cons: The in-between feeling of being depressed and not being depressed, the fear of slipping and falling, not knowing what you’ll run into along the journey, not knowing what waits on the other side, not knowing how long you’ll walk, having to have faith in the unknown.

Pros: A little exercise, eating food, still being partially yourself, building strength, building faith, the happiness you’ll feel once you make it to the other side, the chance there’s happy things waiting for you, the chance you’ll finally get to be who you are.

The chance for happy things and being myself is enough to risk it. Sure, you can climb your way back up out of the pit, but you’re afraid of heights. Also, you’re afraid of climbing out of the pit. Taking the scenic route seems much more my thing.

So, you stand up, and stand tall. You may only make it a couple steps before you sit back down to rest, but that’s okay. You made progress.

I challenge you — dream of the other side, make it an obsession. Create a vision board, pin pretty things on Pinterest, draw it, write it; whatever you do, focus all your attention on it. Through faith and dreams, you’ll gain strength. If you pray to God, the universe, whoever, ask them to walk with you. My Higher Power is my God — I’m a Christian. Sometimes, I forget that. And it’s OK, because I know He never leaves my side. Whether I feel Him there or not.

For me, my other side is full of roses and trees. There’s sunshine and a light cooling breeze. Eventually, I’ll see an ocean full of possibilities.

Keep dreaming; keep walking.

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Thinkstock photo via lzf

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