I do not express myself much on the subject because it brings back in me painful memories, periods of my life that I would prefer to forget. But it has also forged me and I must not deny everything I have experienced, as difficult as it was. So today I would like to write this love letter to all those who struggle with chronic depression.
Love letter to all those struggling with chronic depression
I was diagnosed with chronic depression around the age of eleven, a diagnosis I eventually incorporated. I’ve never been ashamed of my mental illness, it’s not something I could have caused, it’s unintentional on my part and I knew it didn’t define who I was. But I think I chose to ignore the “chronic” part of my diagnosis because I wanted to never experience that feeling again.
I was constantly absorbing the sun’s light rays as much as I could – I didn’t want to be catapulted back into the cold whispers of darkness. I forgot it’s like a volcano: it can sit dormant for months and maybe even years, but it will still have the opportunity to erupt.
That’s how the sleeping dragon woke up in me and I didn’t even notice it. (chronic depression)
I found myself staying in bed a little longer each morning, skipping my math classes first and then acting. I didn’t take off my pajamas right away and I washed around 2pm. I had to convince myself to work, to take hours to convince myself to do things I loved. I stopped reading. And I spent all my time in bed wishing only one thing: never to get out!
At first, I was really angry with myself.
I didn’t understand why I couldn’t bring myself to do the simplest of tasks. The things I loved, which never failed to make me smile, left me feeling numb and empty. But believe me, getting angry with myself only made things worse.
So, listen to me.
If I write on this subject today it is not to find comfort. I find comfort during my therapy sessions. Today, it is you that I want to comfort by writing this love letter to all those who struggle with chronic depression.
Over to you. Whoever you are: whether you are young or older. Male, female, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Depression does not discriminate as society does. It stays in your brain, until it turns your repressed insecurities into your biggest nightmares. Remember that you are a beautiful person.
Yes, I say “beautiful” because that’s who you are. Good looking. What for? Has your depression told you otherwise? Of course she did. That’s what she does. Always. And she does it pretty well.
But as crazy as it may seem to you, you don’t have to listen to it.
Please be kind to yourself. Rome was not built in a day and your heart will not be liberated in a single attempt. It will take time. You will sometimes fall, it is inevitable. But you will never fail, because if you fail, it means that you have given up the magnificent life that the universe has envisioned for you.
You have not failed. You will not fail. (chronic depression)
Still have breath in your lungs? Then the universe is not finished with you yet. You don’t have to stay in that hole, you can choose to hug yourself and tell yourself that everything will be fine. Only you can decide whether you’re going to let depression take over or not. After that, everything becomes easier.
The hardest thing is to show yourself. From there, lean on others: talk to friends, relatives, and therapists. Go for a walk if you can’t run. Jump on a yoga mat or ride a bike. Do a facial or cook for yourself, a glass of wine in hand. Read a book that comforts you.
Remember the happiness you felt before this bad time
That there was sunshine before the storm and that there will be more. You just have to decide to go hunting this rainbow. Be gentle, patient and kind to yourself. The dragon will go back to sleep: whether for a month, a year or two years, he will sleep.
There is no cure and I think that’s what I had hoped for at first. Yes, it is hard work, but we can do it. You can do that. Because you are much stronger than you think!
Let me tell you a secret. (chronic depression)
The last time I was sick, not so long ago, I wanted to die. I was even jealous of people with terminal illnesses like cancer, because they had a reason to stay in bed and die and because people wouldn’t have a bad opinion of them for it. And yet, at the same time, I didn’t really believe I was sick.
I followed my psychiatrist and GP because I thought I had to, and I didn’t have the energy to talk to them. But inside, I told myself that I was lazy, shy at work, cowardly, incompetent and self-centered, that I was a waste of space.
Now, let’s talk about you.
You are a wonderful person, endowed with fabulous and interesting qualities that make you who you are. It’s just that you’ve lost sight of them for a while. Depression visited me several times, each of them being different in its own way. In my experience, and that of many others who have generously shared theirs, the special things that make you who you are will return.
It’s just that the strength, patience, and hope you need to wait for their return is exactly what depression takes away from you. So, right now, everything seems impossible to you. I really know that feeling. (chronic depression)
Depression is a disease.
It is actually seen in the brain. It can improve on its own. But depending on its severity, it can take years. Even though things look bad right now, if you don’t ask for help, they could get worse. You may have already found that it’s helpful to talk to a friend or call a helpline. If not, do it!
Your GP and/or psychiatrist can help.
They can help you decide if you need medication and/or talk therapy, or referral to more specialized services. If prescribed, the new antidepressant medications work on your body to help you heal. Yes, they have side effects. But antibiotics too, and you’d probably take them if you had a serious infection. People and websites that tell you that taking antidepressants is a sign of weakness really don’t know what they’re talking about. Do not follow the advice of someone who is not a qualified doctor.
If you are prescribed medication, I hope you will consider taking them, including waiting for them to start to take effect, which can take a week to a month or so, and avoiding things you should avoid while you are taking them. And if you’re oriented to talk therapy or a group, give yourself a chance, even if you’re anxious or weak, and seriously consider submitting to it.
You will have good days and bad days. (chronic depression)
Over time, you will gradually notice that there are more good days than bad. You will rejoice again in small things, such as a walk in the rain or the smile of a stranger. You will find things to do that will give you a sense of accomplishment. I do puzzles and very bad knitting. Find what makes you feel good. Make tasks small and achievable. And celebrate what you’ve done. Because you are amazing to have found the strength to do them.
Learning to be kind to yourself can be a life-starting project.
And if you’re not kind to yourself, it’s much harder to be kind to others. That is why it is a generous and thoughtful thing to do.
I wish you good luck for the rest of your trip. Know this: you are not alone!
With all my love,
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