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To the Person Who Can't See the 'Light at the End' of the Depression Tunnel

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I don’t remember when I first started feeling depressed. There wasn’t a set thing that made me stop and think, “Wow, that’s happened, and now I want to die.” It just snuck up on me, and the next thing I knew I’d spent years of my life feeling alone and low. I couldn’t remember a time where my days hadn’t been clouded by the thing we call depression.

People speak about depression as if you’re going through a dark tunnel and for a while you can’t see the light, but eventually, if you keep on going, you get through to the other side.

I don’t think this is the best representation. For me, it was more like a dark maze — one that was never-ending, and every time I turned a corner thinking I’d see the exit, it was just another dead end.

Each time I felt a little hope, found it slightly easier to breathe, it would disappear. The air would be taken from around me, and I was suffocating again. It was so dark. I could barely find my own feet, never mind find an exit.

I didn’t realize how bad things had really grown until I was admitted into a hospital. At this point I knew I had to work hard to really recover. I worked so hard, fighting my illness, even when I just wanted to give in.

There were days I could barely get out of bed. I went days without brushing my teeth, without having a shower. I lost who I was, and I had no clue how to find myself again.

And then slowly, things got easier. I couldn’t find my way out of the maze, but I looked at it differently. I noticed things like the flowers in the hedges, the color of the sky when the sun was setting. Life had started to become more beautiful and more bearable.

I used to hate it when people said I must hold on, that things would get better. When they’d say that to me, I’d want to laugh in their face.

To all of you who are reading this, whether it’s you who is struggling with mental illness or someone you know, because trust me, there will be someone in your life who is — know you aren’t alone.

There’s no way for me to be able to describe it so you can understand. Everyone is affected by it in different ways. But I’m hoping by reading this, it’ll give you some kind of understanding to those who have loved ones with mental illness and to those who are in pain and see no way out.

You can get through this.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Follow this journey on Recovery.

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Thinkstock photo by Arsgera

Originally published: January 25, 2017
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