A Pure Heart8th April 2018
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Having lived with depression for most of my life, it would be very easy for me to point out the many negative aspects of my illness. I could quickly and simply find that dark place that stores all of my failures, anger, resentment and fear; and I could easily allow myself to be consumed by that familiar and comfortable darkness, instead of finding inspiration in it.
The truth is, that, whilst it is a constant and testing struggle, most days, I am a resilient survivor who becomes a stronger, wiser and more empathic person because of it. If I push myself outside of my comfort zone, and beyond the boundaries of my self-doubt, I realize that I might even be a better person because of it, that there may be a sunny side to my depression.
This may not be the case for all those who experience depression, but with this illness I have learnt that there is no ‘one size fits all’; everyone’s experience and journey is very different and personal on an individual scale. Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones.
Perhaps the most vital and important aspect of my depression is the strong support system that I have built up from it. With any illness, you soon realize who you can and cannot lean on, and I’m constantly overwhelmed by the level of support, guidance and love I receive. Whether it’s a warm embrace or the serious telling off I need, I always find it within my network of allies. Though its taken several years to determine the good from the bad, I now have a committed army of supporters fighting in my corner.
Truly, Madly, Deeply
Depression, and all of the ups and downs it brings, has allowed me to feel so deeply and whole-heartedly. Having suffered crippling lows and rode the waves of the euphoric highs, I have found a deep passion within me for many wonderful (and some not so wonderful!) things. Once my barriers are broken down, and I truly let someone in to my life, I am able to love them so passionately and completely, and this has allowed me to build up some very meaningful and lasting relationships. Whilst this type of love can also be destructive, I am learning to tell the difference.
Creativity and Arts
My passion extends to many things, and one of those things is a love of creativity. I find nothing more inspiring than the raw, honesty of art, music and creative talents. Depression has allowed me to truly hear, see and feel not only the meanings of these artistic expressions, but to accumulate my own interpretations. Some of my favourite possessions include my sisters artwork and canvasses, my mothers passed down vinyl collection and my vast bundle of CD’s and music. There is something quite special about not only hearing music, but also feeling it deeply within your bones. I’m not sure I would quite be able to relate so abundantly if it weren’t for my depression, and many times these passions are exactly what has pulled me through.
If I’m completely honest, in the past I have been guilty of brushing off other people’s depression. Until I had experienced it for myself, I didn’t completely believe it was a truthful or viable illness. I saw it as an excuse for laziness and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t have sympathy or pity for those experiencing depression, but respect and a deep sense of empathy. From experiencing this for myself, I understand what others might be going through and I understand the strength and courage it takes. My own depression has made me wiser, more understanding and more compassionate; which is exactly what many need to combat the illness.
Living with depression isn’t easy; it’s a daily struggle and a constant fight, but every day is a reminder that I’m a survivor. I’m still here. Despite everything that has tried to bring me down, and every struggle I encounter, I remain resilient in my fight to be healthy and happy. I haven’t given up and I don’t plan on losing the fight.
A simple life would be boring so perhaps I can dare to say depression has given my life some colour; I am challenged each day by my illness, but each day I have overcome some sort of challenge. In order to beat depression, whether it be a specific day or long term, it is inevitable that I have had to face my demons day to day. My fears have many faces; it may be attending a large meeting, connecting with an old friend or simply getting out of bed and brushing my teeth, depression has allowed me to make progress in my own way, and each step forward I take is one I can be proud of. It may seem the simplest of tasks to someone else, but every time I face my fears, I have accomplished something and that is a reason to be proud. Every day I face a challenge and overcome some sort of adversary, even if it is not always easy for me to see my success or admit I have made progress. Challenge accepted!
There Is Hope
This sickness is a constant up and down, and the road to recovery is a rocky one, but there is always an ‘up’. The bad days can be extremely bad and I can be lost in it and unable to move for a while, but there is always a breaking point. Eventually, I get up and return to the fight. Every time I have previously thought that I couldn’t succeed, couldn’t win, couldn’t move forward, I did, and perhaps that means that some day I can beat this thing for good.