It’s scary, isn’t it?
Realizing you’re depressed is a struggle. Being able to admit it to yourself, seeking some sort of help whether that means medicine, therapy, or some other outlet, choosing to fight back against this mental disorder that threatens every good thing in your life, it’s terrifying but not nearly as terrifying as living past it.
I’ve struggled with social anxiety and depression for most of my life. When I was younger, I use to self-mutilate. For most of my life, these things have been part of my identity, just as much as saying I have a creative streak or I’m spontaneous. I’ve let these things control my life without realizing I was doing so and all under the guise of “talking about it”.
I think some of us have mistaken the idea behind talking about mental illness. I wrote prose for a long time, detailing every feeling, comparing thee things, explaining poetically and honestly how I felt. Hearing these things was refreshing for a lot of people. Hearing people tell me how much they related and how much they loved my honesty should have made me feel better, but it didn’t.
In fact, it made me feel worse.
We all stopped trying to feel better. I think most of us forgot we could. I came out and told people about my anxiety, my depression, and my self-harming, but never did I attempt to get better. After a while, these illnesses just become a thing we have, and we don’t care about how much they’re holding us back. We don’t care that we’re damaged because being damaged is a fashion accessory for some.
Do we even want to get better? Can you imagine living a day where you didn’t stop from doing something because of your depression? Can you imagine a day where you weren’t depressed? Weren’t anxious? Can you imagine not cutting yourself so you can feel some sort of pain? Can you imagine a world where you don’t live trapped in these boxes?
If not, maybe we should talk.
It’s scary, isn’t it? Deciding to become something more than a stigma? Trying to feel better? Going after actual dreams and wants when you literally feel as if you don’t deserve it? Talking about why you feel so sad rather than explaining how sad you feel? Can you imagine working through the issues rather than simply admitting you have them?
I can’t, but I’m trying.
I wanted to talk about it. God, how I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell people every gritty, horrible, painful detail, but all I could manage to say was, “I’m fine.” I wanted to tell about why I was sad, why I was in pain, why I felt this way, but instead I slapped the label on it and told everyone I was fine if they asked. I still tell people I’m fine when I’m breaking, every single part of my soul shattering and cracking and exploding, and I’ll still tell people, even those who know me best that I am fine. I am fine. I am fine.
I once wrote, “I’m fine will be written on my tombstone.” I still believe this to be true, but I’m trying.
I once wrote, “We’ll carve smiles into our faces until we bleed happy if that’s what it takes.” I’ve carved so many smiles into my face, and I still have yet to ever bleed happy. I didn’t think happy existed.
A few years ago, I broke up with a guy. Like most writers, especially poets, I talked about how I felt after the break up. I wrote out the loss, the pain, the anger, I didn’t deal with it, but I wrote about it. Someone, a random reader, messaged me and asked if I would stop. Heartbreak wasn’t their thing. Could I please write some more of the stuff about depression instead? They could relate to that.
People only love me when I’m sad, and that was a lesson hard learned.
Not long after that, I stopped writing prose and poetry. Something that had once seemed so cathartic no longer was. It was a chore. It was a show and I was a puppet to parade the idea that admitting we have it and talking about having these issues was solving the problem. Instead, we were romanticizing something that is a horrible and ugly struggle by saying things like broken is beautiful.
Guess what is even more beautiful? Healing yourself. Trying. Moving forward. Saying, “I’ve got depression and it’s not going to stop me.” Talking about why. Working through the problems. Celebrating the victories.
Anytime I order my own meal at a restaurant, I’m trying. Each time I go out with a friend rather than say no because home is safe, I’m trying. Every time I get up, get dressed, and do something rather than lay in bed and sleep, I’m fighting.
I want to be more than a statistic. I want to be more.
It’s scary, isn’t it?
We’ve let our sadness define us for so long, but I want to be more than a label. I don’t want to be broken and discarded like trash. I want to take my broken parts and create something more beautiful. I don’t want to look back on my life and say I never did the things I truly wanted because I was depressed. To be as cliché as any cliché person can be, I want to live, not just be alive.
Part of that is moving past the diagnosis and moving toward the treatment.
The treatment is taking a walk just to see the trees.
The treatment is making a trip possible despite all odds.
The treatment is stopping to smell the roses.
The treatment is celebrating the little victories.
I struggle with depression and anxiety. When I was a teenager, I used to cut myself. But guess what? I stopped. For over ten years, I haven’t mutilated my skin because I was sad. Because that’s not who I am.
Hi. My name’s Christy. I’m a writer. I love horror in all shapes and forms. I also love animals. I plan to open a shelter one day. I’m a dreamer. I love doing things that are weird or crazy, sometimes even dangerous. I eat pizza and tacos more often than I should and have no remorse. I’m silly and weird and I’m still learning.
I am not my mental illness. I’m me.