To the People Struggling in Depression Recovery
The world would spin on its axis more harmoniously if life were easy. Though we must remember that in order to be able to define light, we must first know darkness. Without the incongruity and juxtaposition between good and bad, the experience of sadness vs. happiness, we would not be able to experience one without the other.
At the age of 8, enduring what felt like life-ending panic for the first time, I was too young to understand the process. I wasn’t able to look at the experience for what it was — the beginning of a journey that would see me reach an incredibly enlightened place that I would otherwise never have reached if I didn’t first experience my fair share of trauma.
I look back on my most unwell years with some shame. It is hard for me to understand some of my thought processes and behavior when today, having healed I no longer feel such impending doom and misery. Isn’t that the point? With healing comes a degree of freedom and for me, that freedom was significant.
I write this letter to those of you who are in the middle of your worst war. The ones who aren’t sleeping at night and aren’t living when breathing. The ones who are harming just to feel and the ones who are crying in order to feel some kind of relief. I have been there. I self-harmed for 11 years first at just 9 years old and in a few short days, I will be 2 years recovered, without a single relapse. I still take medication to aid my depression and anxiety disorder as there is no shame in using the resources I have access to. So far I have seen 23 of this earth’s counties and almost all continents — not bad for someone who once only accessorized with hospital bracelets.
You are just as capable of a life that feels like living as I am and just like I have healed, you are in that process and you will meet your healing just when you are most prepared to.
If I never experienced some of the traumatic situations, if I never made the wrong choices and lost those specific people I wouldn’t be the person I am proud to be today. I am strong and independent, empathetic to a fault, kind without question and someone with confidence. I am happy and I am healthy. Though I certainly wasn’t always this way.
I haven’t forgotten the fear I felt, the pain that consumed me and the thoughts that spoke to me most frequently when night fell and quiet came over me. I still remember how the wards of the hospital smelled that I was admitted to, I haven’t forgotten the words the doctors told me after my 14th suicide attempt and how I shouldn’t have lived, but I did. Healing does not erase the struggle, it paves a path for a new beginning and we must accept that we can only embrace that fresh start once we come to terms with the fact that we will always carry the scars.
These scars though, they are not a sign of weakness. They are reminders that even in the moments when we felt the weakest, our skin, our minds, they healed themselves, often without our help, weaving the wounds back together and now it is time for us to let ourselves heal altogether and believe in what our bodies have always shown us.
My journey of healing truly began when a teacher of mine told me I was worth the time. Prior to her encouragement, I had never considered there would come a time when I would be well and healthy. I didn’t think it was possible, I never imagined a life for myself beyond the walls of my psychologists office but she believed in me and she was right. I was worth the time and now I am taking the opportunity to pass along her message, you are worth the time it takes to heal too.
The road isn’t paved smoothly. It isn’t an easy trek, but the view is entirely worth it. Pack your supplies, thank the people around you who have supported you until this moment and believe in the journey you will be taking. The view is great and the life you earn is greater.
I have healed and you will heal in time too. I believe in you.
Unsplash photo via Valou_c