Living with depression is like living in a black hole. All the light in your life disappears as quickly as it came, and even the things you once loved can’t remind you of what it feels like to be happy.
You want to cry when you think of the people you love because you can see the pain you’re putting them through. You don’t want to hurt them, but you can’t help it. It’s an illness, one you can’t fight on your own. Depression pulls you underwater and drowns you; it makes you forget why life is worth living at all.
I’ve been through it. I’ve lost sight of life’s meaning and found it again. I spent two years alone, miserable, and never believing anyone who told me it would get better.
I’m here to tell you that it’s a cliché for a reason—and that when things do get better, you’ll be able to love your life and the people in it with more vigor and vibrancy than you knew existed before.
Recovering from depression takes a long time, and it’s a slow process. Over time you’ll start to enjoy things more, and eventually, that’ll lead to a renewed appreciation for life.
When I began to recover, the beauty I used to see in the world around me—in nature, in learning, in people—became crystal clear again. But that joyful renewal made my new life even sweeter than it was pre-depression because I knew what it was like not to see how wonderful life truly is.
My appreciation for the people who helped me through that time—and who came into my life afterwards—has never been higher since I recovered. They were the people who kept me alive those two years, who loved me no matter what, and depression taught me how important they truly are to me. The same goes for friends—I lost many over the course of those years, for countless reasons. Now that I have a group of wonderful people who support me in every facet of my life, I will never take them for granted.
All this is to say that even the darkest situations can lead to better times ahead. When that blanket of darkness was lifted from my life, it revealed the beauty that I never knew was there before. People, places, feelings—they’re all part of what makes life a fantastic and exquisite experience. When the ability to appreciate was taken away from me, it showed me all I had taken for granted.
You shouldn’t need to go through an ordeal like mental illness in order to love the parts of your life that deserve gratitude. I hope that my experience can show someone that it’s not worth it to trudge through each day, blind to the wonder that life has to offer. Too many people live like that, and it isn’t worth it.
We have a limited amount of time to enjoy ourselves, so we should take every opportunity with joy and enthusiasm. The greatest thing I’ve done since recovering from depression was letting deep, real love into my life—it’s opened my eyes to so many wonderful feelings that I want to spread to everyone.
I hope that my experience can inspire a few people to step back and take a look at the influence that those who love you have had on their lives—it’ll undoubtedly lead to a more joyful existence all around.
Happiness isn’t something that everyone is able to have. I was lucky enough to be given a second chance. If you have the ability to be happy, don’t squander it—embrace it. Don’t hesitate to take opportunities or love with all of your heart. The joy that life will give back is more amazing than you can imagine.