The thing about recovery is that it is never nearly as simple, or as clean cut, as it sounds. And it’s nearly impossible to know you’re in it until it has, at least in part, worked.
I would love to be able to write this and say that I had ‘recovered’. That talking with a therapist and exercise and going veggie had entirely cured me of all my problems. I would love to say that I leapt out of bed every morning filled with absolute joy at the prospect of living another day.
The reality is painfully far from that. The reality is I am by no means cured, and quite frankly I don’t think I ever will be. Maybe I don’t want to be.
However, I have learned a lot about myself and my depression and I have definitely gotten a lot better at navigating through life with it.
It feels like the hurricane is over. It finally ended and now I am left looking over all the debris and destruction it has left behind.
It’s pretty bittersweet. On the one hand, thank God the storm has passed. On the other, I’m looking at what I’m left with and I’m wondering if it is even possible to salvage or create anything out of the rubble.
It’s almost enough for you to go back to bed and say actually, y’know what, I’ll give depression another go. It’s a lot less effort. Besides, what if it’s too late? What if you’ve wasted too much time to make all those things you wanted to come true now?
I was stuck in this pretty bleak moment for a while; feeling finally ready and able to Live My Life and then realising my life was a fucking wasteland and how much work I had to do and feeling like giving up again.
I mean, you have to admit, it’s a pretty wank situation. It’s like working really hard and studying for a test that you still end up failing anyway. Or like Katniss and Peeta surviving the Hunger Games twice only for President Snow to destroy their homes and families as soon as they get oyt. Or for everyone in Game of Thrones to finally work out and overcome their differences only to then all be destroyed and turned into zombies by the white walkers.
But then one morning, don’t ask me why, I had this crazy realisation that I was going to die.
Incredible how the one thing I had been thinking continously for the past seven years only now actually made sense to me. But I knew it then; I was going to die. And it was one of the most freeing realisations ever.
Because I could choose to trudge along through the wasteland miserably until I withered of old age, or I could choose to kill myself that day, or the next day, or in twenty years. The result would still be the same.
So why not at least try?
Why not at least give those things I want more than anything a shot? My best shot? Because the worst that could happen would be that I fail and it doesn’t work out, but the result would still be exactly the same as if I killed myself that day, or got hit by a bus a week later, or died aged 70. Except I could say that I tried.
So I decided that I didn’t get to give up without trying. I didn’t get to give up trying to make my dreams out of the debris until I could honestly say I had given it my best shot – I had given me my best shot.
So, yes the hurricane has passed. But there is still a fuck tonne of work to do.
And that’s not to say it’s only an uphill struggle from now on, either.
People never talk about the way that depression is weirdly comforting in its familiarity. People don’t talk about the quiet seduction of sadness – the way it can lure you in, like an old friend. It’s always there, and its always trying to drag you back.
And the truth is, the real ass truth, is that I don’t think it ever stops. I don’t think it ever goes away. But I think you can learn to live with it. And I think, in some ways, it can make you a better, wiser and more empathetic person than you would have been without it.
I don’t know, that was my botched attempt at trying to take something positive from all of this, but the truth is that depression has fucked up a pretty huge portion of my life and now I just need to try to stop it from ruining any more.
I think I just realised that I have been so terrified of the ground being pulled from beneath my feet that I would rather jump off the ledge than ever let my feet touch the ground. And maybe that’s just because I’m a control freak. But don’t we all want to be the masters of our own destruction?
Either way, I think it’s about time I took the plunge and landed both feet firmly on the ground.
Image: @capgundeaths – thanks for making my meme dream real 🙂