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When It Feels Like My Depression Is Coming Back

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Sometimes I’ve fought with a partner – not a yelling fight, just a lack of communication which makes me feel stranded. Sometimes it’s knowing I wasn’t invited somewhere and I start feeling isolated and left out. Sometimes it’s a throwaway comment or a look in my direction which makes me question if you care for me at all.

It’s so easy for you, my depression, to find ways to seep back into my life. To convince me that the black cloud that used to follow me around has returned to hang over me. I start to feel the rising tide of emotion I struggle to control. I feel the need to escape, not from my physical location, but from myself. The all too familiar thoughts and feelings come rushing back in a tidal wave that crash over my head and threaten to sweep me away in their aftermath. Feelings I came to know so well, thoughts that accompanied me throughout my teenage years. Emotions I fought so hard to overcome. In seconds they can be back and I’m terrified they mean to stay.

Suddenly I’m back to being that girl who was scared of her own shadow — who wrote poetry for hours but couldn’t seem to access reality. I spent days in my own head. My grades plummeted, I stopped socializing and family were scared to ask. Living in my imagination was preferable to living in the real world. I recall the feeling of wanting to escape my skin, feeling claustrophobic and hating who I was. I remember the crippling thoughts that told me you never loved me, that the world would be a better place without me. The voice in my mind that asked if anyone would miss me when I was gone. Sometimes I couldn’t even remember what had happened the past week; sometimes I can’t remember those years even now. My memory has been scrubbed clean. I can glimpse memories of crying uncontrollably without knowing why, feeling completely out of control of myself, not knowing who I was anymore and wondering how I’d drifted so far from whom I thought I would be.

All of this can return in the blink of an eye and beside it is the question, “What if?” What if I’m stuck here again? What if this isn’t just a momentary relapse? What if I can’t think or feel myself out of this? What if I can’t do it again? Crawling out of my depression with all my emotional reserves depleted, I was wrecked. Trying to keep the feelings at bay, I wonder could I do it again? Where would I find the strength?

More often than not you’re gone as fast as you came. Sometimes after a few minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes longer. Yet so far I’ve always had my happy ending, watching my depression recede back like waves on a beach. The sea remains and it can be turbulent at times but I’m learning. I’m learning to cope better, to prioritise my well-being, to breathe through the panic when I feel depression returning, to wait out the storm.

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 narloch-liberra

Originally published: February 23, 2017
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