What It's Like on the 'Other Side' of Depression
If you told me I’d be living my best life after depression, I never would’ve believed you. In fact, I probably would’ve thought you didn’t know the first thing about depression. “It’s not an illness you learn to be thankful for,” I’d say, “You just try to survive and live as normal a life as you can afterwards.”
That’s truly what I believed. I mean, I fought the invisible illness for years not having the slightest clue what was wrong with me until I finally broke. After that, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t want to live. It was pretty terrible, to be honest with you. How do you come back from something like that?
Unfortunately, some of you know what I’m talking about. You know what it’s like to fight every day against this “thing” chipping away at you. It wears you down to the core until you’re a shell of your former self, and the only thing you can think is: What the hell happened to me?
Depression happened. Depression sucks. It’s a lousy experience, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But I don’t want to just talk about how tough it is to go through depression— there’s plenty of that all over the internet — I want to talk about the “other side” of depression. About finding life after the darkness, hope after despair, peace after turmoil. There’s something after that hell. And it’s not a mediocre hanging-on-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth existence either. There’s a great life — a full life — waiting for you on the other side of depression!
We all get through the illness a bit differently, and for me, it was basically a two-step process. The first step was to learn I was not alone. A lot of people struggle with depression. Like a whole lot. And I’m not happy about that, I’m just saying it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone. There’s something about depression that makes you feel like you’re the only person on the planet who ever experienced it. That kind of isolation only makes the illness worse. So knowing you’re not alone is the first step towards healing. There’s an entire community of people who understand you, empathize with you and are rooting for you to beat depression.
It’s great to know that and to feel just the tiniest bit connected to life again. Then there’s step two, where the true healing begins. Step two is believing there’s an other side to depression. It’s allowing yourself to believe the day will come when the sadness and the guilt, the hollow emptiness that haunts you day and night no matter what you do, will be nothing but a memory. An unpleasant memory, but a memory nonetheless.
That’s where I am in life right now. I remember depression. I remember the days I couldn’t get out of bed. I remember wanting to take my life because it was barely anything more than unbearable pain. I remember, I remember, I remember. But I don’t live it anymore. It’s in the past, and I’m on the other side living my best life. I work a full-time job at a company I really like. I became a speaker with an organization called Minding Your Mind to spread awareness of mental health. I wrote a book about my experience overcoming depression and finding joy. I’m living life! And I’m happy and excited about that every day.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know, and to believe that it’s possible for you too! I couldn’t see it for myself when I was in the throes of depression. I didn’t know there was something good after that kind of despair until people shared their stories with me. They gave me hope, and I
want to give you that same hope. So if you’re in a dark and despairing place, please know there is an other side to your pain, and on that other side is a rich, wonderful, beautiful, fulfilling life you deserve!
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash