We need to talk. We need to talk about something urgently.
We already know that depression is happening. It’s happening everywhere and it’s being talked about. What we haven’t discussed in so much detail is: relapse.
I wish I could talk about what it means to relapse in all the scientific ways in which maybe others can. But I can’t. So I’ll use a metaphor instead.
Isn’t it great when we feel like it’s finally over? When we can lower the dosage of those pills or start to feel better without them? But what about the times when we don’t necessarily feel any different or any better, but we feel the same?
I have a tendency to call this going back “home.”
When we relapse, we feel depressed again. And yes, it’s not nice; interestingly, it also feels familiar. You see, depression seems to have the power to make us feel like we belong in darkness and bleak emptiness. It’s almost as if we don’t have a choice but to come back home to it. It becomes a part of us. Just like a home. Maybe that’s why it’s less scary when we feel down again, rather than when we smile; we aren’t familiar with that. Depression, however, makes us feel safe.
So what do we do when it feels like we are going back home again? What do we do when we are home? That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. And in all honesty, although I don’t know much, what I do know is that this sense of familiarity and ironic feeling of comfort is not good. We have to get away from it. We have to move out.
Now we all know that it’s a huge struggle to find a new home, grab the keys and move out. There’s always so much to carry. It’s not just a change of address; it’s a change of life! Who can be bothered with all of that?
Well—we can. And we should.
Yes, it’s difficult and it’s scary to move away from something that feels so familiar and comforting. But you and I, we both know that our current homes are not making us truly happy. When was the last time we laughed hard? When was the last time we felt something new and exciting? Exactly.
I’m crying as I’m writing this and maybe you’re crying as you’re reading it. We’re crying because we all know what it feels like to be home. What it feels like to know that we’ve simply gone around in a circle and ended up in this hole again. That’s why it’s time to pack up and leave.
We should pack up all of our belongings except the fragile things, like our moments of weakness: our anger, the sense of failure, the sense of defeat, our tears, our broken hopes and our shattered dreams. Leave them behind. Pack up the tiny drops of hope that remain. Pack up your remaining strength. And walk straight out of that door.
We need to move out. We need to move out urgently.
We need to hope. We need to hope urgently.
We need to love. We need to love ourselves urgently.
And even though the “relapse” tells us that there’s no escape, we know that there is. We just need to walk out of that door.
Author: Mizgin Koker
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Fabio Venni/Flickr