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When You’re Scared to Recover From Depression

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I’ve been struggling with depression since I was 13 years old. Adolescence is a time where you form yourself, start learning who you are. I was depressed and this became part of my identity. I’m a singer, a math lover, an avid reader and I’m depressed.

When I first entered treatment at age 14, I wasn’t ready to get better. I wasn’t honest with my therapist, and I eventually stopped going. I convinced everyone I was “better” — that wasn’t the truth. I let depression trick me into staying sick.

I began treatment again at age 16. This time, I was the one who asked for help, rather than my parents forcing me to see someone. I really wanted help this time around, and I promised myself I’d do it differently. I was able to push back the fear of opening up.

I did do it differently that time. I found a professional that I truly connected with and I stopped lying. Even when things were so bad that I may have needed to be hospitalized (my biggest fear at the time), I chose to be truthful. This saved my life.

After an extensive amount of therapy and several medications, things began to look up. However, I found myself terrified. I had been depressed for so long, I didn’t know who I would be without it.

I often compare depression to a thick wool blanket. I cover myself in this blanket and I’m warm. I’m warm, but I’m suffocating under this thickness. I start pushing the blanket off me, but now I’m cold. I’m cold, and I miss the blanket. I miss the blanket and I want it back. Who am I without this blanket I was covered in for so long? I wasn’t sure I was ready to give up the comfort of the sadness, but I pushed through regardless.

A few months later, I look back on my past self. I’m stable now, happy if I dare say it. The illness I struggled with for so long has slipped away, and I barely noticed. Once I found the right medication and the right treatment, I started to feel better. I even found I liked feeling this way. My world became brighter, no longer consumed in darkness and despair.

Things aren’t perfect. I will admit that I still struggle sometimes. I continue with the therapy and medication that saved my life.

I am creative, I am kind, I am strong. I’m pursuing psychology in school. I love outer space, and I’ve become devoted to my religion. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and recently began collecting healing crystals. Also, I have depression. It may always be a part of me, but I’ve learned to be at peace with it.

If you are scared to get better, I promise you that you won’t miss it. The sadness is inviting, but it will only destroy you. You are so much more than your illness. Push through the fear, because the world is a bright and wonderful place. If you do this, I hope and believe your sadness will slip away. You’ll barely notice it until you wake up one morning and realize how light you feel. Unburdened by the heavy darkness.

Please don’t let your illness deceive you. It doesn’t want you to see the good in the world. There’s so much for you to see, so much joy and beauty that awaits. If you’re scared to get better, know that it’s OK. It’s OK to be scared, but push through the fear. It is so worth it.

Getty image by Cranach.

Originally published: March 25, 2019
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