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When Others See the Beauty of Autumn, Depression Makes Me See This

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I often hear people talk about how much they love autumn. Pumpkin spice lattes, leaves changing colors, cool breezes, cuddling with their loved ones and scary movies. I respect the opinion of others.

I think nature is beautiful. I think the upcoming holidays are exciting. I think getting out of the sticky but sweaty months is a good change. Yet, I can’t feel the same way as others in autumn. I am jealous that people can see something so pretty when I see something so dark.

Depression has taught me that autumn is not pretty. The cuddling on the couch with my significant other? I sleep. Whenever I can. Wherever I can. I do.

My boyfriend wants to have a movie night? I will be sleeping in minutes. I have no energy to do things. I am drained. I wake up, and it is dark outside. I go home, and the sun is setting.

I don’t see the beautiful sunrise and sunset. I don’t smell the crisp leaves. I don’t feel the dew in the early morning air. I see darkness, loneliness and isolation. I feel heavy, exhausted and worthless. I smell sadness, pain and late night tears.

There is no cuddling on the couch to watch a movie. There is only lying alone cuddling with my depression. When other people are going on cute walks, I am barely getting out of bed. I am struggling to find a reason to shower.

I can’t find motivation to brush my teeth. I skip meals. My body hurts. My head hurts. My heart hurts. I struggle to find a reason to fight the bad thoughts. I believe in the lies that depression tells me. I give up on who I am.

I stop taking my antidepressants. I stop taking my anti-epileptic medication. I want to become a bear and hibernate. I walk hand in hand through the day with my good friend, depression.

When people are talking about how pretty the leaves are, I am on the verge of tears. I can’t see that beauty. I can only see how ugly I am. I can see my fat rolls. I can see my zits.

I remember how I made someone mad. I remember the post on Facebook my friends criticized. I remember the fights I caused years ago. I remember all of the things I wanted to change but didn’t. I remember my failures.

I don’t hear crunching leaves as I walk. I hear my depression lying to me. I wish I could see the beauty around me. I wish my depression didn’t crash into me like a semi-truck. I wish I could push away the thoughts like I can do in the bright, sunny spring. I hate the tricks my brain plays, telling me I am OK, I don’t need my medication and I have “beaten” my depression.

Is that even a thing? For me, no.

Seasonal depression wipes me out. It makes me hide until the sunshine is back. It makes me dark. It makes me scared of the person I can be. Yet, I remind myself I have survived worse. I remind myself of who I am. I come up with three things about me that I do enjoy.

I like my smile. I like making others happy. I like my laugh. I like that I have a big heart.

I am not my depression. I have a great life. I have a wonderful family. I have a village of people who understand my mental illness. I can continue to work and fight this demon on my back. I am more than my illness.

I am more than the lies that depression tells me. I am more than my past. I am a work in progress. I am me. Each day, I get stronger and move forward. Each day, I want to find something beautiful in this season. Instead of surviving, I want to enjoy.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 17, 2016
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