Major Depressive Disorder Stole My Time, but I Am Not Finished

The first appointment I had with a psychiatrist was the first time I heard the term major depressive disorder, as opposed to, what I had always just called depression. I looked up the term to see if they were, in fact, the same thing, and I stumbled upon something that shocked me. Major depressive disorder is characterized by depressive symptoms that last longer than two weeks. Two weeks.

It floored me to know that I could have seen a professional four years and 50 weeks ago and received the same diagnosis I was receiving now. I had been struggling with something for five years that would have been taken just as seriously if I had gotten help just two weeks in. It felt like years of suffering that had been prolonged for no reason.

Many times in the past five years, I’ve found my thoughts heading down a dark path. Often times, I would think if none of this had happened, I would have been so much more by now; I would have created, accomplished and lived more. For a long time, this led me to believe that time was wasted; that somehow 16 years into life, I was ruined and I would never come back from this. I’d had one single chance to be great, and depression had taken that from me.

My self-loathing self had a point; I’m sure there were many things I would have done if I had not struggled for so long. So many things I loved became completely uninteresting, and almost repulsive to me. The thought of playing tennis or drawing or cooking, things I’d once loved, nauseated me. But just because I did not become the person I thought I would be does not mean the person I am now is not equally as promising, talented and worthy. I am not finished.

It may have taken me five years to understand why life was just a little more difficult and a lot more dull to me than some of those around me, but one day those moments will be behind me. Maybe there were parts of me I lost along the way, but the places where those parts used to be are not empty holes; they have been filled with new things. And maybe those new things don’t fit in perfectly yet, maybe it’s a bit like trying to fit puzzle pieces into slots they don’t belong — eventually they will settle into place. That is what I remind myself; I will not feel this way forever. I have so much ahead of me waiting.

I have felt empty for a very long time, so, of course, the start of reawakening will hurt and burn, like thawing a cold limb. But I will bounce back. Not to the person I was, but to a person who is new. Just because something changes you, doesn’t mean it has to break you.

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