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To My Younger Self With Depression: Keep Fighting

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They do love you, you know. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, even when you can’t see it. It is there. You know they wouldn’t want you to feel this way and yet you can’t bring yourself to tell them.

I want you to know you are strong. Stronger than you imagine, braver than anyone else realizes. You’ll look back on the times you could barely hold on to the end of the day and wonder where you found the courage to keep going. But you did keep going, you still do and it was worth the fight.

It’s not easy, in fact it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done. It’s hard to live when your own brain is telling you to do otherwise. When an all too compelling voice tells you your family don’t love you, your friends only tolerate you and you’re truly invisible to the rest of the world. You’ll ask yourself what’s the point in asking for help if no one cares enough to give it. It might feel like the truth – goodness knows it felt like it was often enough. But it’s not. It really isn’t. People do want to help. In the future, people will tell you they had no idea you were struggling because you hid it so well. It’s hard to ask for help but it’s also incredibly important – everyone needs help now and then. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

I wish I could tell you the fight would end. That one day the sky will clear and you’ll step into a world of sunshine and light. But life doesn’t work this way for anyone, depression or not. It will always be hard but it will also be better. When your doctor told you one day you would meet someone who would turn your world around, you couldn’t imagine it. How could someone ever be expected to love you? How could you drag someone into your life and ask them to help you manage? But you did. You found someone who loves you and shows you. Who understands sometimes you need your space or to sit quietly. Someone who holds you in their arms and puts no expectations on you when you struggle.

It’s a learning curve. I know you’re not the easiest person to live with when you’re struggling with depression, but you will learn to talk to others. You will talk about how you feel and your loved one won’t force you to talk when you don’t want to. When they know something’s wrong, they will let you open up in your own time. In their arms you will find a shelter when you need it. The fight is not over but it’s getting easier with help from others.

You will talk to your family too and they’re starting to understand what helps and what doesn’t. They help protect you from yourself. You’re telling more people now – I’m writing this post – and you want to use your experience to help. Maybe if I can make someone’s life better. This would make the struggle worth it.

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Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.

Originally published: March 7, 2017
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