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When You Have a Love/Hate Relationship With Depression

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Depression is a illness that exercises its power through the use of brainwashing. In moments where I am more stable, I can better acknowledge the power it holds over me.

But in those darker moments I am captured by its spell.

On those days, my relationship with my depression is a love/hate one. As scary as it is, that is my reality. It has been for a long time, and this is what it feels like.

I hate my depression.

I hate the way it makes me think. It has taken away my will to live more times than I can remember. My depression has caused me to spend days in the hospital and days in my bed. It has been the foundation for the destruction of some of the most important relationships in my life. Being deep in an episode is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I cry out for help and beg anyone who can hear me to drag this agony out of me. “Please make it stop,” I repeat over and over to no one as I rock back and forth, trying to let the demon out. But it never leaves. It continues to grow, tearing me apart with its breadth until I can no longer think straight and shut down. I can feel it corroding my soul. My depression is debilitating when it takes over, and far too often I cannot keep it repressed within me.

But this is only one side of my depression.

Sadly, I love my depression, too.

Depression may be debilitating for me, but it is strong in itself. It is persistent and persuasive. Amid all of the misery, I have developed a strange sense of comfort in being depressed. Depression wraps its dark arms around me and takes me into the hole that it has created just for me. And I trust it; I trust it because depression has become my constant. Sometimes I am too afraid to take my antidepressant medication because I don’t know what I’m going to feel when I wake up the next day. Who am I when I am not depressed? Depression tells me I am nothing without it, and that I need to carry it with me to feel whole. The scary part is that depression takes parts of you away and fills it with darkness. When you come to accept this darkness as an inevitable part of you, you know what to expect next. I am too scared to feel happy. Happiness provides me with a sense of false hope. It makes me fall for it and then turns its back on me without any warning sign. This is a heartbreak I am too weak to endure. So when I miss a day of my medication, when I am depressed, I know what to expect. I know the depression won’t leave me because it never has before.

It loves me, and I have grown to love it as well.

No part of this is easy to admit to myself or anyone else. I am angry at myself for having all of these feelings, and this anger and guilt are part of the vicious cycle that feeds the monster in my mind. Trying to explain these mixed emotions have led me to be criticized in the past . Nonetheless, I share this fraction of my experience with depression because I know I am not alone in this struggle. The way depression manifests itself can be specific to the individual, but it has the same controlling properties that alter perception in all of us. Depression can be a scary disease to have and a scarier disease to heal. Overcoming the thoughts and feelings that have been regulated by a mind disorder takes not only time, but also incredible strength and bravery. I am still digging within myself to find these characteristics. I have been for years. The idea of using them against the depression I have come to know so well is is terrifying, but the opportunity to regain control over myself is empowering. This hope keeps me going. This hope is written down in my journal, and I read it over and over to myself when I am in a dark episode that doesn’t seem to have any light.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s OK to be scared. I am scared every day. But we have to do everything we can to keep this fear from further encompassing us. Sometimes it is easier to slip into the depression, but we have to keep fighting. Because no matter what the illness tells us, it is the real enemy.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 24, 2017
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