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I'm in Treatment for Depression, but I'm Still Not 'Fixed'

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There was a time, just after I knew I was depressed and right before I was ready to admit it to anyone else, when the idea of “getting help” became elevated to an achievement of mythic proportions in my mind. As a teenager firmly against sharing my secrets and inevitably crying even more than I already did, to me the idea of visiting a therapist was both out of the question and the ultimate escape plan — the certain fix that was an appointment away if my thoughts became too much for me to handle on my own.

In some ways, I was right: talking to a professional is, in many ways, all it’s cracked up to be. Medication can be pretty great, too. But for all the success I’ve seen and progress I’ve made in almost a decade, I still haven’t been “fixed” like I always imagined I would be.

Getting help for depression is not a one-time event. At least not in my experience.

Since my first appointment with a psychologist, there has been a second, a third and a 13th appointment. There have been new doctors and new offices, new symptoms and new fears. I’ve been tapered off and back on (and then off again) more than one prescription I thought would be the answer to everything, and I’ve learned the hard way that the side effects those TV commercials warn you about are no joke.

I’ve gotten little bits of help at a time, like when that one song comes on the radio or just the right quote is shared by a social media friend. Big waves of help have come my way when I’ve least expected them and often when I didn’t even ask. I’ve sent late night texts to closest friends and shared rambling blog posts with perfect strangers, and all of that has helped… but I still have depression.

Life with depression is this long and winding path through a thick forest where some stretches are lined with flowers and some are overgrown with thorny weeds. It’s sometimes lonely and rarely easy, but it’s a journey I’m committed to taking because those good stretches are impossibly good and the bad ones are getting easier to navigate all the time. Sometimes I just need help.

Unsplash via Artem Kovalev

Originally published: October 4, 2018
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