No depression story is the same.
It struck like a tidal wave against my rickety boat. After years of weathering an internal storm, patching my sails together daily, fortifying the hull with spit and blind determination, this one event capsized the little boat.
I was 19. I remember the next four years drowning in tears, always exhausted, in terrible, horrible physical pain I couldn’t explain or fix with vitamins.
I was dirt poor. Didn’t have insurance. I didn’t dream of contacting a therapist.
I didn’t even know I was depressed.
I just sort of chalked it up to sorrow, grief – mourning a frail, broken sailboat of a dream.
Coming home late at night, I would plan out high speed car crashes into trees as a way to end the pain without hurting my family with the truth – I just couldn’t bear to live in my body anymore. It felt heavy. I felt like I was drowning every minute. My chest was tight. I couldn’t inhale deeply or run or do much of any cardio.
Even as I write this, my kitty is worming under my arm trying to get close. She’s so precious. She’s been through it all with me. The day I ran from my dad and hid at a friend’s house for a week, then moved in with some other friends for a few months. Then back. Finally to my apartment where I could breathe. God, I had forgotten how to breathe.
Some friends pulled me out of the storm – unlikely friends. Not the God-friends you expect to see you and help you, but spiritual nonetheless. The kind of people who are just good for goodness’s sake.
In the aftermath, I pulled myself back together. I began to see brighter days. I got on track with promotions and dating and giving myself permission to be happy.
One day I realized all the physical pain was gone. Just gone. I didn’t hurt constantly.
And I can afford therapy – you know, when I actually make time for my appointments.
But this kind of deep, wrecking scar tissue doesn’t heal completely. You’re never really out of the storm just because you find patches of sunlight. I tell myself I’m fine. I’m happy. I’m not in danger.
Today changed that – when I started working on a way to end it without hurting the ones I love. That’s when you know you’re never really out of the water.
I’ll make a therapy appointment.
Thanks for listening.