Weakness or Strength

I’ve been starting a lot of posts lately without finishing them. One of the main themes I’ve been trying to figure out how to begin addressing again is depression. Mostly, my depression and how there can be periods of breakthrough, relief, and healing, but it isn’t something I believe I’ll completely be over.

I used to think that depression was something that made a person weak. I was so determined to appear strong, to appear like I had my life together, that I refused to accept that depression might be the cause of my panic attacks, sobbing at the slightest provocation, and the general emptiness I felt in life. This went on for years. It’s only after I finally faced the fact that I was living with depression did I realize that being willing to admit that and begin the journey toward a fulfilling life again was something that made a person strong. So strong. Stronger than anyone can realize without being in that same position.

I think the most frustrating thing about living with depression as a constant ghost is facing the fact that it can come back with a vengeance. This is where I’ve been the past few months. There have been glimmers of hope, moments of knowing that being in this depressive state isn’t a permanent curse. I am always so hard on myself. I expect so much more. I hold myself to the standard that I should only struggle with a certain issue once in life before growing and becoming better. But I’ve found myself retreating into my shell and feeling angry, worthless, and empty again.

I’ve caught myself thinking “You’re so much better than this. Stop being that weak excuse of a human. Stop wallowing. Stop being worthless. Stop.” The thoughts come much more often that I’m willing to count. I’ve viewed it as a weakness.

However, I’ve realized that this is an incredible double standard. Reflecting over conversations I’ve had with a couple close friends who truly understand the feeling of hopelessness that comes with true depression, I’ve marveled over how strong they are. How impressed I’ve been that they have felt the same way that I have, and continue to fight every day for the side of hope and healing. How extraordinary they are as humans. It’s made me wonder why I can see their bravery and strength, but only my shortcomings.

This fall into the pit of depression has been different than previous ones. I think it’s mostly been brought on by the fact that I am nowhere where I want to be in terms of my career, geographical location, or physical appearance. However, I’ve been trying to remind myself that I’ve made so much progress in the past few years. I’ve come so far. My depression doesn’t make me weak.

Living in spite of my depression makes me strong.

Frankfurt HBF, Frankfurt, Germany - September 2014
Frankfurt HBF, Frankfurt, Germany – September 2014

listening to: Florence + The Machine

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