When I first got depressed at 15, I remember crying for many reasons, but one of the biggest was that I believed I had lost myself forever. I remember thinking I would never be the person I was before I got depressed. As time passed, the memory of who I had been before faded slowly until I couldn’t remember who I was at all. I couldn’t remember how it felt to wake up and not wish I didn’t have to. I forgot how it felt to want to interact with people, to do the things I loved. I forgot what it felt like to not be angry all the time that I was wired the “wrong” way.
To be honest, I did lose myself. Depression is a lot of things, way beyond being sad. Sometimes it’s fantasizing about death because it feels like the only way to be at peace. Sometimes it’s laying in a dark room, sleeping for so many hours it’s hard to believe there’s any tired left. Sometimes it’s being so numb you feel nothing at all.
There are times when depression pours down on you, flooding every area of your life. There are times when it’s just a sprinkle, when you get through work or school but spend the rest of your spare time in bed. It’s not easy to come out of, and I don’t believe it’s ever fully gone. I know it takes work to get through the darkness and I urge anyone who feels like it’s pouring to seek help.
While I know depression is excruciatingly painful even when you feel a complete emptiness, I also believe it doesn’t define you. No matter how consumed you feel by it, it doesn’t take away from all the beautiful little pieces that make you, you. You are still compassionate, strong, and empathetic. You will always be the kind of person who cares, the kind of person who chooses their words carefully and who asks how others are feeling, wanting real answers, because you know the difference it makes. Despite all the hell you’ve endured, you have not lost your heart.
While I did lose parts of myself in the darkness at times, I was never completely lost. You aren’t either. With an illness that is impossible to explain in its entirety, with the “why” never fully discovered, it’s important to understand it does not make up the whole of who you are. Anyone who knows what it’s like to walk this Earth with a pain that nobody can see and that isn’t universally understood is gentler with people. Even though you feel lost at times, the best parts of you don’t disappear, and your perspective can help others. The world needs people who understand darkness, because those people shine the biggest lights.