I reached out to someone on Twitter today because I could feel where they were coming from; it was a place that I, myself have been. It was a brief conversation, or comment is more accurate, about being in the depths of a struggle with depression. I remember that place very well. It’s something I never want to revisit, as much as it’s something I’ll never forget.
Depression is like being strapped on a sinking ship. Only there is no lifeboat, or even a friendly vessel. You hope there will be someone who will approach at one point or another who can pull you out, but that’s not how it works. Depression is a sinking ship where your only opportunity to recover comes from swimming ashore. And what’s even more frustrating is that people try to help you… and despite your best efforts…
sometimes depression drowns your relationships.
In this conversation that I had, I made note that my own experience with depression did exactly that. Depression destroyed some beautiful friendships. But what I mean, of course, by that, is that I destroyed some beautiful friendships. I was too wrapped up in my own feelings to see the way that they were impacting those closest to me. I lost the pieces of me that people had loved, and I became a burden. I became a reactionary. I became impossible.
I’m lucky because I found myself. I learned that I am a strong swimmer when I’m faced with an emotional storm. I became the woman I always wanted to be; which is not to say I’m done growing, but that I began to accept my stages of growth. I found the land and suddenly things were better than they had been in a very long time…
But the ship had gone down. And try as I might, I was unable to repair the damage that I had done to some of my closest and fiercest supporters.
It hurts, sometimes, when I look back on what I’ve left behind; mostly because I feel like I left the wrong impression of who I am and what I wanted. I never meant to hurt the people around me, I was just too busy trying to catch a breath to notice when I dragged them under.
It’s over now, but depression leaves scars within a soul. There are scars in my mind, and scars on my body that I’m aching to hide. Imperfections that embarrass and remind me of the mistakes I made when it came to my struggle. And some of those scars exist in my loss of relationships. I shudder thinking that those I loved, and still do, believe I meant to hurt them on purpose, when the truth is that I was too selfish to even see them. They serve as constant reminders of the mistakes that I made, and how I will avoid making them again. The reminders that hurt my heart, but that built character in me. Pieces of perspective that have me living in a different way.
A part of me feels like these moments were mistakes, but I know that if I use them to move forward and avoid the same mistakes in the future, it will have been worth it. Our friends are an excellent place to learn important lessons, and if we’re lucky, they’ll stick with us as we grow. And when they don’t, it’s an even stronger reminder of what we stand to lose when we lose our footing and lose sight of the important things.
Love, encouragement, support and gratitude.