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What a Sad Evening Taught Me as Someone in Depression Recovery

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It’s 3:45 a.m and I feel sad. I’ve been crying, my heart feels heavy and I just feel sad. I don’t really know why, but I’ve never been very in tune with my emotions. Anyway, that’s not the point of me writing this.

I am sitting, crying, but also sitting in amazement, because this feels weird. Feeling sad doesn’t feel normal. And it surprised me.

It was only a few months ago that I didn’t think I’d be able to finish my university course because my attendance was so bad. I was having panic attacks and severe anxiety. I spent most of every day in bed. I was missing out on things I normally love because I was so anxious.

Looking further back, there were better periods and worse periods, but still in the better periods, I was clinically depressed. Being sad was my every day. Self-harming or feeling suicidal was my bad day.

I think back to my worst times, when I sat in my room, crying, day in and day out. Self-harming every day, suicidal every day. Daily visits from the crisis team and regular trips to hospital. I don’t remember much of that period (and really I’m grateful I don’t) but it seems so alien to me that I was that ill.

Now, it’s unfathomable to me to think how I got to that point. But I did. And at that time, it was unfathomable to think about being better.

I have no illusions about my mental health. I am aware this is something I will have to cope with for many years, if not forever. I’m still on medication and under the care of a psychiatrist. But for the first time in nearly five years, I am not in regular therapy — a decision my psychologist and I made together. I don’t feel “out of control,” that “I can’t cope in the real world” or that “my emotions control me” — things I have regularly said to my psychiatrist in the past.

It’s hard to explain, but my emotions have always been so intense — even good emotions. Although I don’t feel on top of the world at the moment, I know I won’t come crashing back down in a split second. And that’s mind blowing to me.

So tonight, I feel sad. But being sad has made me realize just how far I’ve come. And for that I’m incredibly grateful.

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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Thinkstock photo via Archv.

Originally published: July 7, 2017
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