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I Am Not My Depression, I Am My Fight

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Am I my depression? That is a question that is haunting me tonight. I have been on break, and depression has really colored my week. The deep set heaviness made “fun things” completely exhausting. Being out of my routine ruined my ability to mentally prepare for the expectations of others.

Perhaps it seems dramatic to make this a question of identity, but it is one of the two most impactful things in my life right now. It changes my decisions, my engagement with life and my self-perception. I keep trying out different descriptions about how my depression relates to me to see which one fits.

Maybe depression is a part of me. But then, it is the part of me that I hate. It becomes a personal flaw in my makeup. Or maybe I must accept and embrace it. Be OK with the place I’m at right now. Be OK with the situation that triggered my depression. I would need to look at the silver linings and all the things I’ve learned, and decide they are worth the continued, sometimes intolerable, psychological pain.

And there are moments when I think it’s all that I am. It consumes every thought. It makes me question everything about my previous identity — my competence, skills, personality and even my faith. The depression tells me that it is all that I have and the only way out is to escape.

Next, I try to look at it through a logical lens. What is the science behind it? From that perspective, I would have to say it is an illness. Its cause is likely multifaceted. So my depression boils down to a list of symptoms. But does it make a difference when some of those symptoms are emotional or behavioral?

I think back to those moments where I was at my worst. Moments when I truly thought I didn’t want to live anymore. And, I begin to see a pattern. I feel worthless and undeserving. The depression is dragging me down and fear makes it hard to breathe.

But I reach out.

I may not directly ask for help, but I let someone know that I’m not doing well. When depression leads to suicidal ideation, the person that I am, the person within me reaches out. Even when the pain felt unbearable, there was always a part of me fighting to live.

I am not my depression, I am my fight.

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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Originally published: March 10, 2017
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