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Why Depression Can Be Oddly Comforting

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Most of the time, the goal with an illness is to either get better or learn to manage it in the best way. This makes sense – after all, why would anyone want to stay ill or constantly let it get the best of them?

Yet sometimes, as I lie on my bed doing nothing and wishing I didn’t exist, I also hope this cloud of misery surrounds me forever.

For many people, there’s a lot of comfort in routine. As miserable as that routine might be, it’s often nice to not have to guess at what’s coming next. I’ve never really liked surprises during my day all that much – a lot of people don’t – and knowing what’s coming next makes me far less anxious. It’s the familiarity that often makes a by-the-numbers day so bearable. After all, change is honestly scary and most of us go to great lengths to avoid it when we can.

That’s exactly why a part of me hopes I stay depressed.

I’ve had depression for more than half of my life. It’s honestly hard to imagine a time I wasn’t depressed, or at least had thoughts leaning in that direction. My childhood feels like a big blur that happened to someone else. Sometimes I feel like my mental state defines me more than anything else in my life.

If I was somehow magically cured – or even learned the absolute perfect way to deal with it in a way that I never had another episode – I’m not sure what I’d do. I don’t look forward to depressive episodes at all, but whenever they do happen, it’s like an old friend (or perhaps enemy) has come by. It’s familiar. It’s comforting in the strangest way because, for so many years, I’ve never known another way to feel. I still don’t.

But they are my feelings, and they wrap around me like a cocoon, taking me back to a place I never asked to visit and yet don’t want to leave. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to or if I even want to. If I ever manage to get out, I feel like it would be similar to being dumped off to a completely unfamiliar country without any instruction or explanation.

Like I said, I’ve never really cared for surprises. I’ll stay in the comfort of my own thoughts, no matter how bad they might be.

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Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: July 10, 2017
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