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With Depression, Every Day Is Different, and I'm Different Every Day

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I have depression. All day, every day. But I have good days and I have bad days. Not every day is the same, and I’m not the same every day.

I have good days when I smile and laugh. Good days when I see my friends and talk and do things (yay…accomplishments!). Good days when no one would even guess I have depression. Good days when the mask I wear every day is absolutely air-tight until the point I actually start to believe it myself. Good days are great.

Then I have bad days. Often the worst of the bad days seem to follow the best of the good days. The days when the mask I wear seems to have completely fallen apart. Days when a smile seems as impossible and far-fetched as time travel. Days when I wake up and don’t know why I’m getting out of bed. Days when nothing seems worth a try. Days when my tears are a dime a dozen, and life hardly seems worth a try. Bad days are rough.

Most days aren’t good days or bad days. Most days I wear my mask with pride and it fools every stranger on the street. It fools a lot of people. It fools almost everyone I know with a few exceptions. I know I’m wearing a mask, although at this point I don’t have to think about holding it on. Most days I argue back and forth with my depression and I’m exhausted by the end of the day, but I can usually make it through the day. Most days I act and function like many other teenagers. Most days I struggle internally, but most people don’t notice. Most days turn out OL. 

You see, depression is not black and white. Depression is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Life is, too.

The fact that I have depression doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of excitement or joy.

I most certainly was ecstatic when a close friend and I performed a dance we had worked all semester choreographing together, and performed it (almost) flawlessly at that. I definitely had a great time at my birthday party as my closest friends and I ran around a water park all day. I absolutely loved my junior prom as I ran around belting out “Shut Up and Dance” as loudly as the next person. I have depression, but I still have moments of joy.

But I also have hard moments. Moments when even though I’ve studied nonstop all semester, I still don’t understand the concepts on the midterm. Moments when my chronic illness is flaring and my doctors don’t know of any other options. Moments when every little feather of a problem in my life seems to weigh a ton and it’s too much. Moments when everything in the world seems to be falling on my back and it hurts.

So when you see me one day and my mask is in place, don’t assume the next moment that mask won’t fall away. I never know what might trigger a harder moment or day. Life isn’t black and white. Neither is depression. Every day is different, and I’m different every day.

Originally published: June 16, 2016
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