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The Biggest Thing Depression Has Stolen From Me

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This morning I came across an old picture from when I was around 7 years old, and for some reason it made my heart hurt.

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I miss the girl I used to be. That photo of me was taken when life felt so easy. The sun coming up in the morning meant new possibilities and hope. Who knew one day that same sun would bring overwhelming feelings of dread, despair and so much fear?

Depression steals beauty and joy, and the hardest thing for many people to wrap their head around is that this is not a choice.

Who knew light could be taken from you without warning? Who would think the built-in emotions of happiness and loving freely could one day disappear without a trace? When darkness takes over, these are the questions that fill my head, leaving me feeling like part of my soul was stolen — but I have no clue how to get it back.

One of the biggest things depression has stolen from me is my ability to have relationships.

When the ability to socialize, maintain friendships, call people back and show up for important events are no longer things you’re able to do, people start to disappear. Who wouldn’t disappear if they felt like someone didn’t care enough to call them back or show up to the big milestones in their lives?

It’s almost a cruel joke you can be born with this ability to be social and make friends and then one day, poof, it’s gone.

I’ve played out in my head what people must think. She’s so selfish. She only cares about herself. Where did she go? I don’t need friends “like that.” I’m over this friendship. I don’t want her to be in my wedding. I don’t even know her anymore. She doesn’t care about me, so I’m done with her.

And just like that, the friends you thought would be in your life forever are gone. They gave up. They had to. Some might stay, but not to the same degree. It’s not the same as before when you were the past version of yourself, the person who wasn’t eaten alive with depression.

The worst part is trying to articulate what happened. You want to tell people you’re so sorry, but it happened so out of the blue. One day picking up the phone felt like the scariest thing you’ve ever done. Showing up at birthday parties or showers made your heart explode with massive anxiety. How could they believe you? That’s not how you used to be.

Exactly. That is not who you used to be and you have no idea how to get that person back. So you isolate, mourn and grieve the loss of yourself, your soul and your most important relationships. You have to. It seems like you have no choice and that’s what hurts the most.

Some of us don’t give up. Some of us learn to coexist with the pain and the path our lives have taken us. We know we’re in a dark hole, but we start to see moments of pure light. We try to remain hopeful one day we can go back to the way we used to be.

You see, depression is a thief. It’s a rotten, heartless, cruel, atrocious, wicked, evil, harsh and brutal disease that steals every single thing that is important to you.

I’m sharing this so people who live with this condition know they are not alone. For those who don’t know what it’s like, but have someone in your life who suffers, please try to have compassion and love in your heart. They’re doing the very best they can.

We already judge ourselves harshly enough, so choose love — for yourself always, and others as well.

Originally published: December 11, 2015
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