The Roller Coaster Will Go Back Up: Trusting Depression Will Pass
“I don’t want to feel this way anymore.”
It’s something everyone, everyone, experiences. Want to know why? Because everyone has feelings they don’t like, that are uncomfortable, that make us feel bad about ourselves. It’s not exclusive to people with mental illnesses or even people who have big and important events going on in their lives.
Sometimes, we just don’t like the way we feel, and we don’t want to feel that way anymore.
I always see my bipolar disorder as an exaggerated form of what everyone experiences: ups and downs. Even before my diagnosis, I compared my mood as a big unpredictable roller coaster. The ups, or mania — I never wanted those feelings to go away, and everyone experiences that, too. We do go through times and seasons of life that are very enjoyable, and again, it doesn’t even need to be situational. We can wake up and just think, “I am so grateful to be alive and where I am in life.” Those days include a little more of bounce in our steps, the sun shines a little brighter and our smile feels more natural.
But just as a roller coaster cannot go up all the time, our moods do not and cannot stay this way.
Sometimes we wake up in the morning and wish we could just sleep all day. We slug around from place to place. No matter the weather, the clouds seem to follow us regardless. And even though you know it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, frowning becomes the default. Personally, that is where I am at right now.
Depression is a really, really terrible thing to experience. Just about everyone feels “depressed” at some point in their lives, but having depression is different. It’s huge rocks tied to your feet after you’ve been thrown into the ocean. It’s unscrewing the cap and letting all of your motivation and desire evaporate into thin air. It’s a wrecking ball swinging randomly and knocking down everything important to you, like life plans and relationships. It’s a punch in the gut, and then another, and another, over and over again. It’s an incredible liar, feeding into your head thoughts like:
“This will never pass, you will forever be sad.”
“You think your life is worth living anymore? Ha!”
“You’re hurting everyone around you.”
If your roller coaster is going down, and you don’t want to feel that way, recognize those feelings. Suppressing or denying your feelings will only make things worse. What is the point of telling yourself the roller coaster is going up when it’s down?
But just as you have to recognize your feelings, if they lie to you, you have to fight back. You need to realize your life is valuable. You don’t know me, and I don’t know anything about you except for this: you are a valuable person. The world would be worse off without you, and every roller coaster goes up again. It’s part of living with the ups and downs. But regardless, you are allowed to want your feelings to go away. But you cannot give into the lies that go with that. I want my feelings to go away, but not you.