Sometimes I Wish I Could Be the Woman I Was Before Depression

She lived in sunshine. I hide in the shadows.

She could wake up to an alarm and get going. I wake up either slowly or with a scream.

She was always crossing things off her to do list. My partially filled out list is ignored.

She was always on the go, power walking everywhere. For me, crossing the room is often too hard.

She was confident enough to at least fake being confident. My every illusion of confidence is shattered.

She ate regularly, I forget to eat.

She was dependable, I’m flaky.

She could be a leader, whereas I barely even participate — if I do at all.

She spent so much time with others, I spend most of my time alone.

She had many responsibilities and juggled them all. Responsibility scares me — it feels too heavy a weight to bear.

She did so much with her time and fell asleep with the joyful exhaustion of a good day’s work. I’m exhausted all of the time as I sit in my room.

She was organized, though in her own way. I live in a world of chaos.

She could remember things easily, and her brain worked quickly. My processing speed is slow all around.

She noticed beauty all around her. I barely notice the sunsets I once cherished.

She found joy in so much of what she did. Joy seems more like an echo or after image for me.

Her faith life was so strong. I can barely leave the house — let alone going to church. And it’s hard to talk to God these days. I’m not sure why.

When she journaled, there was often contemplation about the meaning of life and there was some insight into her day. I barely journal. When I do, it’s recounting events briefly or documenting the darkness.

She didn’t need meds. I do.

She had hope for the future. I’m afraid of it.

She felt comfortable in a variety of clothing. I live in pajamas and sweatpants.

She let herself be loved and known. I have walls and a moat around my soul.

She was resilient and always got back up. I feel like I’m staying down, without the strength to even try to stand.

I know I have her on a pedestal. There are similarities between who she was and who I am.

We’re both night owls.

We both like the nostalgic and metaphorical.

We both have cried alone in the dark. I need to remember that she cried and panicked too.

We can both be described as survivors. I’ve survived even more than she did.

She was a bit of a loner who found her niche eventually. I’m still at the loner phase.

She loved her books, and so do I. She loved her family, and so do I. She loved babies, and so do I.

She’d give her life for another, and so would I.

Not so different — nearly the same at the core. It’s just right now a lot of the details have changed.

I’m not her anymore. I’ve been told it’s OK, that I’m at a different level right now and am functioning differently, but it’s OK. Even though she’s what I want to be and who others expect me to be, she’s not who I am anymore. Maybe I’ll never be her again. In fact, I probably won’t. You can’t erase what’s been written on a life. There’s no going back to who I was, to her. But perhaps, going forward, some of the details will change again, and I’ll become someone who lives in the sunlight again.

But for now, I’m here. I think I need to make my peace with that, though I’m not sure how. Maybe I just need to do what I am able each day, and let myself fall asleep with the knowledge I did the best I could today, just like she did.

My life just looks a bit different now.

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 photo via berdsigns.

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