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What to Know If You Think Depression Makes Me Weak

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Maybe you don’t say it aloud, but I see it in your eyes. You think, now that I’m not vibrant and outspoken and laughing too hard, that I am “less than.” You think I am weak.

But, consider this: if you were sick like me, if your depression made you slow and plodding, stuttering and self-loathing, could you make it through each day? Could you, like me, squeeze toothpaste out of the tube when the simple act is as tiring as running miles and miles and miles? Could you answer the phone when you know your pauses are interminable, when you stumble over each word, and when you can’t remember who called in the first place?

Because you’ve never had my hurdles, you imagine you could. You think that, since your legs work and your organs (most of them, anyway) are well-functioning, you could live your life with the same ease of your well self.

But, maybe not.

Remember this: I am a force, and mental illness doesn’t make me less. I am strong and the kind of girl who doesn’t shrink when confronted by adversity or by sour words. I will take you down if you attack me or mine. I won’t be stepped on or disregarded, or even forgotten.

Being severely ill doesn’t erase this.

I didn’t lose my moxie. You wrongly focus on what you are only able to see with your eyes. What you can’t see: at my sickest, I battle every hour, every moment. And, still, I push through each day, knowing the next will try to defeat me. That, in itself, is a win.

I am a warrior. I’m a warrior when I’m well, and I’m ten times the warrior when I’m sick.

And, I stand in good company. We are the ones who belligerently protect our mental health and we are a formidable tribe. We stand, arms interlinked, marking a line in the sand. We are cage fighters, scrappy pugilists, combatants. We are, very definitely, the opposite of weak.

Photo by Julian Santa Ana on Unsplash

Originally published: December 20, 2018
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