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March 12, 2015

The Road to Recovery is paved with Great Potential.

By Bogdan Radenković

It’s dark out and the moonlight stretches over all of my notebooks that have flipped open to various pages of memories that I’m struggling to remember.

The good. I need to remember the good. I need to remember why my father has overworked hands and where my mother comes from. I need to remember that I am a sister, cousin, daughter, friend. I have to remember what it feels like to be alive.

I would appear to be going mad if anyone were to see me right now. They would probably look away, maybe cover their mouth and push their eyebrows together, or maybe just gawk and think, “Have mercy, what a mess.” Yes, this has become a mess. I’m desperately trying to relive the times before this moment. Only because I have run out of options. I’ve started having thoughts I can’t say out loud. No one ever talks about this part when they talk about depression. They never reach out to people and say, “Hey, I’ve considered some pretty ugly things in my time of need, as well.” No one says that. Maybe because of pride…or shame. I had never heard anyone discuss these things with me, so I assumed I was too far gone.

There I was for the third night in a row. I wasn’t even sure what I was trying to do that night. Half of me was telling me to get real and say goodbye. My mind wandered and flirted with terrible ideas. I had written my goodbye in my head, because I was sure I couldn’t win. The other half of me was screaming to remember who I am, where I came from. What I needed to do here. Time stood still. The room was silent. I rested upon the idea to search for myself.

I was so tired. It took everything in me to pull these journals out of my closet and place sticky notes on everything that gave me a reason to be here. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Welcome to the grasp of Depression. She wears us down. I still can’t explain where my energy went, where my consciousness was seeking refuge. Though I had surely lost touch with reason, my reality was distorted.

When we realize we are suffering, or if we realize we are suffering, it becomes instinct to fix whatever is destroying us. Depression plays by a different set of rules. No limits, no lengths too far to push us mentally. I question my sanity. I suspect that I could be broken, but the desire to restore the soul is absent.

Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Why are we afraid to be real with people and say something about our internal torment?

Many of us do not understand why we do this to ourselves. I would like to answer with “we don’t always know”. And that’s terrifying! Especially for our loved ones who watch us. It’s like they can’t channel into our frequency. We are under a spell, a curse placed upon us. It is sadder still when our loved ones no longer care to stand by and wait for us to heal. Impatient, perhaps. Some believe we are wallowing, weak, crazy.

I am willing to bet not all of that is true.

We have no idea what kind of discontent is in store for us when this disease plagues us. We have no idea what it looks like if we haven’t been here before. The stigma of mental health pushes the ill into poorly-run behavioral institutions where the afflicted are at max capacity and no one is getting the treatment they need. Yet no one talks about it. We aren’t discussing how some are treated as prisoners or “lunatics,” brushed off to the side so bigger issues can be handled. The system for the mentally tormented is discouraging.

Where do I go? What do I do when my cry for help is met with a pat on the head and a bottle of pills? What can I do when my confession of suicidal ideation is translated into a reason to hold me against my will in a place that terrifies me?

Pray.

Don’t shut me out just yet. Let me explain.

I don’t care who you pray to or what you pray to. Even plead with yourself, but be willing to receive the message that is returned. I am a firm believer that everything we need to heal is in us. Opening yourself up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the first step to allowing the greatness of spirit to penetrate through the havoc.

I offer you this advice: sit in silence and embrace the suffering. Tell everyone about it. Don’t conceal something so dangerously wild. Approach it with determination to let the cat out of the bag. Like a bad boyfriend, or cancer—all equal-opportunity destroyers of the spirit. Open yourself up, let it come out.

Don’t be afraid to confess. Personally, that was the hardest part. It makes it real by putting it directly into the light. Your friends and family care, even if it seems like they don’t. Remember that most of us aren’t taught how to deal with it. Not enough people are talking about it. So, open up and become willing to help shed light on mental illness.

The journey is long and exhausting, and although it takes us for all we got, know that we are not spent. We are only temporarily out of order, waiting to assemble the right tools. I want to remind you that the tools are there. They might be dusty, in the back of our closet. They might be old and unfamiliar now, but keep searching — for new tools, too. No soul deserves to lose this battle. We have to end the stigma and extend a hand to help those who are still in search of a reason to live.

Love has to be dispensed to be absorbed. Don’t be discouraged if depression shows up on our doorstep over and over. Each time we resurface, our skin gets thicker. We gain our balance.

 

Relephant:

How Finding My Passion Saved My Life from Depression.

 

Author: Kara Hawes

Apprentice Editor: Rebecca Lynch / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Bogdan Radenković/Flickr

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