Ok so let’s just put this out there. I have a mental illness (yeee boi fkn cheers to mental instability xD). In all seriousness though, depression has played a part in my life for the past seven years, and continues to do so. There are few people in my life who I talk to this about candidly, but I really just want to say something right here right now, as a way of not only admitting it to others, but to myself as well.
So when I first got sick in high school and was getting treatment, my entire world shrunk; nearly everything revolved around me and my illness. I was like this big sponge that absorbed the energy of everyone around me, especially my family, but that was the way it had to be – I was terribly sick. The number one priority of each day was simply getting me through and getting me one step closer to getting better. I was always told I would get better; my treatment team thought this was just an episode and I would be able to recover and get on with my life, but unfortunately that was not the case. Granted, I have improved so much since high school, but my depression is still something I struggle with.
It’s only been in the past year that the notion of depression just being a temporary fixture in my life has really begun to fade, and I’ve come to realise that this is something I will probably struggle with for a long time to come, if not the rest of my life. It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve never worked harder at anything in life than I have at recovering from my mental illness, and I want to tear my hair out every time I feel myself slipping back under because it’s frustrating feeling like all this work I put in is futile. It’s disheartening that every time I try coming off my meds (under medical supervision), I inevitably relapse. It’s disheartening that every time it’s decided I don’t need to go to therapy anymore, I always find myself having to go back. It’s disheartening to feel like something that was supposed to be a temporary blip in my teenage life has turned into an innate imperfection that I can’t escape no matter how much work I put in to trying to make it better.
My inability to come to terms with this realisation has projected itself badly in a lot of ways. It has made me bitter and jealous of those around me who don’t have to put in the same work I do just to feel okay with themselves. It’s made me full to the brim with negativity and complaints sometimes, because I just can’t help but think about how unfair it is that I have this illness that is a hindrance on my life. And yes it is unfair. But sitting around feeling frustrated and dwelling on it won’t do anything. Newsflash @me – LIFE ISN’T FAIR. This is the hand I have been dealt. Like my mother says “you can’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder”, and she’s right. I can’t walk around hating the world for my misfortune, I need to make peace with it. I need to make peace with the fact that I have to put more time and energy into maintaining my happiness than other people. I need to make peace with the fact that not everyone will be able to appreciate what I’m going through, but I can’t blame them for not having the level of understanding that can only come from having the illness itself. I cannot let this anger fester inside me.
And just as I was mindlessly scrolling at work today, this quote popped up on my feed which is just so fitting right now and proves that divine timing is A THING my friends. The universe always gives you what you need.
“In life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and say ‘Listen, I have to be responsible for myself.'” – Howard Schultz
It humbles me to realise that because of my illness I am still learning and making mistakes. Depression has taken so much of my life away, but it has also given me so much, and it continues to give, it continues to make me stronger, and challenge me to be a better person, and for that I am thankful.
And thank you to everyone in my life that continues to stick by me and love me through the hurt, even when I am not very loveable, even when I turn back into depresso sponge and suck up everyone’s energy.
I would not be here without you.
Artwork by Hyocheon Jeong (@poetic.persona)