So every Saturday night, I play Dungeons and Dragons with my best friends. While attempted to actually move forward in our campaign last night, the fact that we hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks took over and we all just ended up talking the whole night. Topics ranged from YouTube videos to work to politics, and eventually, to mental health. Thus we come to my topic to today: an overview of my life with depression and what it means to me now.
While I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until I was a teenager, I thoroughly believe that I’ve had it since before puberty. Growing up, I felt a certain amount of pressure to look and act, and that I just couldn’t live up to these standards (whether I set them for myself or someone else did). While some people can come to terms with this reality and flourish from this, I was not one of these people and found myself being eaten away by these thoughts and other problems arose because of this.
A lack of self respect. Isolation. Anger. Eating disorders. Poor grades. Clinical anxiety. A desperation to feel anything.
It took me a long time to work through many of these issues that were resulting from my depression and sometimes I still struggle with them, but one major thing that I have gained from this is perspective. Looking back on my life, for as short and tumultuous as it has been (I’m 26), I’ve realized some interesting things.
While many suffer alone when they have depression, I found myself drawn to others with the same issues that I was facing and took solace in this. No one spoke of the issues that they were feeling, we were young and probably didn’t even know what was happening with us, but it was a very strong connection and brought us together. I am still close friends with many of these people to this day. While my darkest days were some of the worst, moments within them with others also made them some of my best and this combination has formed me into the person I am today.
Outspoken. Driven. Honest. Loving. Happy. Unstoppable.
The thing about depression is, when you start to make it out to the other side, you realize that it forms you and makes you so much stronger than you would have been otherwise. I in no way claim to be better, I work daily to stay healthy and sane, but I understand what is happening and have the mechanics and knowledge to push through what happens, and have support from others like my mother and husband to help me on those really bad days.
I’m not sure what I hope to gain from writing this, perhaps just a better level of honestly with myself or maybe greater insight into something that has taken me over 10 years to understand. Either way, I will continue my chronicling of this ever changing me.