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The Lies I Tell Myself When Depression Returns After Years

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I think I was depressed for the first time when I was around 13 or 14. Typical onset for most mental health issues is around puberty or adolescence, as most psychology literature will tell you. It’s one of the things I remember hearing over and over again when I was taking psych courses at university.

I dropped out of university more than once because of depression.

After a three-year-long bout of feeling it after a very stressful and traumatizing breakup, the clouds lifted. It was complimented at that time by a change in medication and I really only felt it during the winter months because that’s when I always felt it. That’s when I developed the forest of thoughts I would often wander through when I’d start feeling this way.

Today is the first time in years I have felt like this. It had been so long I almost didn’t recognize it at first — the low energy, the loss of appetite, the dissociative episodes and the seclusion. What reminded me most was the feeling I needed to be away from everyone because I was not any good. I did not want to talk. I wanted to bawl my eyes out for no reason at all except for the fact that nothing felt OK. Now that I’m older, the thoughts have become more vicious:

“I can’t help myself, so I can’t help my girlfriend who is also struggling.”

“I can’t rely on a support system because of my previous bouts and tendencies to isolate in previous episodes.”

“I have lost the ability to verbally communicate and, even if I did, I don’t know what I need.”

“Am I pushing myself into that place again?”

“How long will I be here?”

It’s all really irrational and I know that. Unlike my anxiety, depression cannot be reframed — it can only be treated, medicated, slept off. It can’t be talked out or made sense of. The biggest lie I could tell in this situation is two words long: “I’m fine.” I’m not and I don’t know when I will be.

These are all lies, though. The most dangerous part of depression is its ability to block out everything but the current moment. It draws out until hours feel like days and tells you it’s always going to be like this when I know, deep down, it’s not. The things I’m thinking are not self-pity, and I get angry at myself because I was so strong… until I wasn’t. And I’m not. And I don’t know when I will be again, but sometimes I just have to grit my teeth and keep going.

Take care of yourself in all the ways you know how. Fight the tide of night that is seeping in through every pore because I know things are not fine, but they will be.

Hope is powerful. Sometimes, it’s everything.

Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

Originally published: January 14, 2019
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