Some find light in the morning, I find mine in the middle of the night. But even darkness can be lightened by hope. Each one of us has passed through his own pain and sorrow. Some show it and recognize it and some don’t. Some convert it to power and some to weakness.
I did not plan my life to be the way it went, I had my own goals and dreams, but 12 years ago I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. I never had the courage to open up and talk about it, even to my family or close friends. I was afraid to tell my story. Although I deeply wanted to share how I feel, I always feared people’s judgment, because one of the most heartbreaking reasons contributing to our instability is that we aren’t understood or appreciated. If we were physically sick, people would understand, but with depression, there is just so much stigma. The lack of understanding and judgmental actions of others makes it harder. So we wear our strength to show you that we can be strong too.
Do they know how strong a person with mental illness is?
Will they see when we share all our pain and sorrow alone?
Will they know how it feels to be worried all night long without sleep?
Will they understand that a person who has depression is not insane?
We’re all just normal people with families, life stories, lovers, and desires.
Most people dread having cancer or a heart attack, but have never felt the burn of living for years in the land of fear, anxiety and loneliness. We don’t post photos of our suffering, we don’t get hundreds of comments saying “get well soon” or get flowers from everyone. In our society, if someone visits a psychiatrist or a therapist then this person is crazy. Although there are many people battling depression, very few have the courage to open up and talk. Moreover, people don’t know that the accomplishments of a person going through a mental illness takes twice or thrice times the effort because it’s so hard to do tasks or perform duties. What seems to be like easy instructions for anyone else, may seem intimidating for the person experiencing a mental illness. They have to work harder, think harder and perform longer for the reward. That takes endurance and strength. Maybe as we learn to deal with our imperfections, we can help others reach their full potential as well. We who suffer from depression are stronger than you think, even stronger than those you may see as normal.
Depression is a battle, it’s a war inside you. It is painful, it aches you physically, and it burns out your mind and heart. It’s something inside you that you can never control, sometimes not even by medication. It’s when you think of ending your life, not only by suicide, but also by thinking that sleeping is the only solution while waiting for your body to catch up with your already dead brain. My depression was never an excuse, nor is it a made up thing. It is real. And it is paralyzing. Depression to me doesn’t mean getting nervous or being down for a few minutes. It is when my legs can’t hold me, I am not able to breathe, and I shake like I’ve experienced hypothermia.
They say depression is the feeling of hopelessness but it’s not at all, and it’s never called weakness. We are strong, despite our self-destructive capabilities, most of the time, we survive. We have the ability to push through the voices and emotions that wish to kill us. This doesn’t count as weakness in fact, this shows an almost superhuman bravery.
The sad truth is that most people don’t know how to be there for someone in deep pain who feels so utterly alone. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t been where you have been. But if you’ve got a friend who is depressed, stop acting as if they could snap out of it if they wanted to. People may say that your mental illness is a choice, you are choosing to feel sad, and you just need to relax and lighten up and they say try to look at the positives in your life. They don’t understand that we are really trying our best and it’s on those days we are fighting our hardest and if we could just stop feeling sad we would.
All these phrases shouldn’t be told to someone with mental illness. Treatment for the mentally ill can involve a lot of factors, including finding a therapist who works for you, changing your routine and sometimes finding the right combination of medication. People think I should be able to handle my illnesses without medicine. In reality, without medicine, my illnesses would handle me. Although finding the right medication can be complicated, you should never be ashamed of how you treat your illness.
When I discovered my illness the only thing that came to my mind was that I’ll be nothing more than a fleeting memory that will fade. Detached is a word I used a lot to describe how I was feeling. Disconnected from everything. I was so consumed with grief, sadness and anxiety that I couldn’t even see beyond the next day. There were so many times I lost hope and failed, despite the crowd around me, loneliness was killing me. Every time I failed, attempting suicide looked like my only choice. I felt so helpless after my failed attempt at suicide and this left me feeling so frustrated. I did not plan to survive but after each time I was truly ashamed that I had allowed myself to get to that point. I feel sad thinking that I might be disappointing my family and friends and the thought of how they would feel afterwards because i was struggling with life. They’re whom I’m grateful for and grateful for giving me the chance to learn from my experience and come back stronger besides letting me know that my life was worth something.
I am not sorry for my illness, nor will I ever be. Because battling with mental illness will be the hardest fight of your life, it’s a fight worth putting your full effort into. It can give people an increased sense of resilience to cope with life’s challenges, and since then I began to think that the darker my past was, the brighter my future will be.
I had suspected for years that I was clinically depressed, but I was afraid to admit it, until a friend of mine advised me to see a doctor. I took her advice at the age of 21 after struggling throughout my adolescence years. During these years, things seem to become more complicated and that didn’t help me to heal. During this period, I lost my cousins, lost the love of my life, and my brother had a terrible accident in 2013. In 2014 I had my biggest shock, I lost a layer of my personal atmosphere, I lost a chunk of me, a part of my soul , my dad. My father’s death changed me forever. I have an ache in my chest that won’t stop and made me feel like I’ll ever be happy again. It feels like having this gap in my chest that can’t be filled and won’t be filled for a life time.
I regret every time I didn’t get the chance to say all the things I wanted to say to him. I regret every second he saw me in pain, with no energy, sleeping all the time, begging me to wake up, telling me that this way things won’t be resolved, but you can relax now dad .Yes, I lost you but loosing you made me strong like never before , because there will be no much pain than the pain I felt after your loss, and I want to thank u for never giving up on me, for inspiring me and encouraging me to be where I am right now. I know that you always hated the idea of me being in pain, but believe me dad depression allowed me to know true darkness and helped me to see my strength, it taught me a lot. It helped me to get where I always dreamt to be, it helped me to convert my weakness into power, helped me achieve “our” dream to have a soccer team. This team is what I live for. It’s what makes me happy. Seeing the smile on my player’s faces pushes me to keep on going on days when I feel uninspired.
Following your dreams isn’t easy. It’s not something you can achieve overnight. It’s easy to get discouraged or frustrated, but in the end, it’s worth it. All the hard work, the late nights, the stress. It may not feel worth it at the time, but then you get a little closer to your dream, you jump over a hurdle in your way, and you remember why you’ve chased this dream in the first place. Finding our purpose in life is one of the best ways to deal with conditions such as anxiety and depression. My purpose is what helped me come out of my darkest times stronger, more determined, and more ambitious than ever.
One of the primary reasons I speak out about my mental illness, is so that I can make a change in someone’s life. For all my family and friends and for everyone reading this, i do want your compassion, your understanding, and your kindness, but I do not want your mercy nor your condolences. I will never feel sorry for myself. And you shouldn’t feel sorry for me either.