This morning I came across and old picture from when I was around 7 years old and for some reason it made my heart hurt.
I miss that girl that I used to be. That photo of me was taken when life felt so easy and the sun coming up in the morning meant new possibilities and hope. Who knew that one day the same sun coming up would bring out overwhelming feelings of dread and despair and so much fear.
Depression steals beauty and joy and the hardest thing for many people to wrap their head around is that this is not a choice.
Who knew that light was something that could be taken from you without warning? Who would think that the built-in emotions of happiness and loving freely could one day disappear without a trace? When darkness takes over these are the questions that fill your head and leave you feeling like part of your soul was stolen and you have no clue how to get it back.
One of the biggest ways my depression has stolen from me is my relationships.
When the ability to socialize, maintain friendships, call people back and show up for important events are no longer things you are able to do, people start to disappear. Who wouldn’t disappear if they felt like someone didn’t care enough to call them back to see how they are or be present at the big milestones in their lives?
It’s almost like a cruel joke that you can be born with this ability to be social and make friends and then one day, POOF, it’s gone.
I have played out in my head many times what people must think. She’s so selfish. She only cares about herself. Where did she go? I don’t need friends ‘like that’. I am over this friendship. I don’t want her to be in my wedding, I don’t even know her anymore. She doesn’t care about me, so I am done with her.
And just like that, the friends you thought would be in your life forever are gone. They gave up. They had to. Some may stay in your life but not to the same degree they would if you were able to be the past version of yourself, the person who wasn’t eaten alive with depression.
The worst part is trying to articulate what happened. You want to tell people you are so sorry but you just all of a sudden one day woke up and picking up the phone felt like the scariest thing you have ever done and showing up at birthday parties or showers would make your heart explode with massive anxiety. How could they believe you? That’s not how you used to be.
Exactly. That is not who you used to be and you have no idea how to get that person back. So you isolate and you mourn and you grieve the loss of yourself, your soul and your most important relationships. You have to. You really have no choice and that’s what hurts the most.
People call suicide such a selfish act and how dare they take their own life when so many people care about them, but living with this dis-ease of the mind is like being in a constant nightmare every single day. One can only tolerate so much pain and when your quality of living becomes dismal and lonely and misunderstood, you honestly just want out of the hell that is now your life.
Some of us don’t give up. Some of us learn to coexist with the pain and where our life has taken us. We see that we are in a dark hole but we start to see how we can have moments of pure light. We try to remain hopeful that one day we can go back to the way we used to be and if we don’t, we learn to have acceptance because that is all we can do.
So you see, depression is a thief. It’s a rotten, heartless, cruel, atrocious, wicked, evil, harsh and brutal disease that steals every single thing that is important to you.
I am sharing this to let people who suffer from this condition know that they are not alone and for those who don’t know what it’s like and you have someone in your life who suffers, please try to have compassion and love in your heart for them and know they are doing the very best they can.
We already judge ourselves harshly enough, so please choose love, for yourself always, and others as well.