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Those Who Endure Depression for the Promise of a Better Day

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I stood there watching, trying to find one face that would disprove of the awful thing whispering in my head. As I searched, it got louder and louder, until I realized it was true.

If I was dead, I’d be missed by no one. Not them and not you.

That is the real definition of depression.

The problem isn’t sadness, circumstance nor past mistakes. It’s you because after awhile, it is no longer possible to distinguish one from the other. The light diagnosis of depression grows heavier and heavier, until it smothers you under its weight. Depression is no longer something you have. Depression has you.

Once you’re there, it feels like you can’t go back. Sure, you can try. You might even be happy for a time, but its loyalty never fails. When you fall, it will be there to catch you. When all stability is lost, it gently reminds you that it’s still there. So after a time, it isn’t even a fight, no one loses and no one wins.

When depression has you, you have no other friends. Why would you need them when you have depression? It talks to you. It soothes you. It tells you the truth and maybe that’s why it gets a bad name because it does hurt.

“No one is really there for you; be honest with yourself. Don’t tell them you’re asphyxiating on your own thoughts. It’s not that bad. They won’t care. Reach out? Why would you do that? Don’t be selfish. Can’t you see they are dealing with more important things than you? That’s right, put that smile back on and go get ‘em champ.

Make them think you’re happy, that everything is fine. Tell them your big dreams for your life. It’s OK, only we know it’s a lie. Let your wall down and cry for them? No, just keep it inside. Do you really have to ask me why? Because then you would know the things I told you were true and that would be the end of me, and the end of you.”

That is the real danger of depression, the double-edged tongue: the incessant roaring of its lies that fade out reality. Depression doesn’t kill you. Functioning is possible still. No, the death occurs when you can no longer tell the difference between its voice and your own.

That’s why some survive it and some don’t. It’s not that they were stronger or that their suffering was of a lesser degree than yours. It’s because the erroneous beliefs daily in the mind slowly begin to engrave themselves in the soul with the passing of time.

The ones who succumbed wearily into that darkness were the ones whose souls became strangers. These souls became so marred and mutilated by those harsh mantras that their owners couldn’t find the little sliver of white that accompanies all scars and signifies healing. It is the tiny margin of victory streaking up the middle of the angry welt of defeat.

This line blazes a bridge across two realms, depression and life, reasons to live and reasons to die. They couldn’t see the truth. They couldn’t see that they had depression. Depression did not have them. They didn’t understand the blanket of scars encompassing their entire being was a beacon of light to those who saw them continuing to fight.

The ones who were conquered by the lies were those who never saw themselves in the light of their marred souls. They saw the notches of blackness as unremitting waves beating against a crumbling rock. They didn’t see the torrent of blows the rock withstood for years before yielding a small crack. They saw the pieces being ripped away and pulled down below the water and didn’t see how much of the rock was still left. They saw the tide swiftly rising, and jumped ship before seeing it recede.

The delicate strand of battles won were hidden, strangled in the heavy chains of battles lost. That is what those who left could never comprehend. The triumphs were hidden, but they were there. Happiness was fleeting, but happiness occurred. The scarce moments of peace and love were overshadowed by pain, but those moments were felt just as deeply as the hurt.

Those who have left were valiant, tenacious fighters. Don’t focus on the wave that knocked them down. Consider how many waves they faced, but those who remain are a rare kind of courageous, a different kind of brave. Those who remain desperately strain to hear their voices above the voice of depression. Those who remain stretch out their arms and embrace it all, the hopelessness, the brokenness and the torment in their brains.

Those who remain are the ones who endure so much for the promise of a better day. They are the dreamers, the optimists, the believers and the hopeful. The ones who remain are those who understand the key to life. They have no reason to hope, but hope is the only thing keeping them alive.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Originally published: July 7, 2016
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