It is hard to think that I can recover from depression when my mental health issues consume so much of my life. Depression seems so deeply woven in with my personality, and what makes me ‘me’. It makes it impossible to think of what I was like before I got depressed. I have happy memories of when I was a child, but am I just happy in those memories, or was I more happy in general? It’s this sense that perhaps things have always been this way that makes the idea of recovering almost impossible because I don’t know what I’m striving towards. Is being recovered from depression means I become generally a lot happier as a person, or is it something a lot more complex?
The longer my depression continues, the more I feel myself becoming more withdrawn and scared to open up. I have complained and cried so many times as a result of my depression, that I am terrified that the people I turn to for help are fed up of me. Secretly thinking that I should just ‘get over it’ because they feel my problems aren’t worth being upset about. This fear is reinforced by the fact that people have left my life, friendships have drifted or splintered. Often, ironically, as a result of being terrified, that they are going to hate me. I become fixated on it so much that I end up driving them away.
It’s hard to battle social anxiety when you’re doing it alone because there’s this misconception that social anxiety only happens when I’m needing to interact with people. However that’s not the case, being withdrawn and isolated is anxiety inducing in its own right. What if my friends forget about me? What if they’re not messaging me because they hate me? Being socially anxious is high maintenance.
It is hard to battle social anxiety when you are doing it alone, I feel like I am walking a tightrope over a canyon and there is nothing there to protect me if I slip. I push people away because I do not want to bother them, then I get distressed at the fact there is nobody there to help me. Mental health issues are a fickle thing, a battle between different states. Depression for me is not just one mood, I have often felt it is a series of moods, all incompatible with each other. The end result being this ‘depressive’ state.
Recovery feels almost elusive like the end goal is constantly shifting and evolving. I often feel like I’m making progress, then the goal shifts and I’m back at square one. Maybe it’s a case of I’m trying to base my recovery on other people. What I think a ‘normal’ person should be like. Yet how can I base recovery on what I was like before I got depression when I don’t even remember what I was like then?
Recovery feels almost elusive like the end goal is constantly shifting and evolving before my eyes. I often feel like I am making progress, finally getting closer to that end stage, then it shifts again and I am back at square one. Maybe it is due to me basing recovery on other people. I look at them, and the way they present themselves to the world, and try and strive for that. Then I see a new person, who seems more popular, more outgoing or funny, and I decide ‘that’ is what recovery is. I feel like I can not base recovery on myself because I do not know what is me and what is my depression.
Am I ever going to be like the happy child I see in my memories? If once we stop being depressed, but are largely changed and deeply affected by it, then are we truly recovered? Perhaps recovery is not the end state but the journey itself. I will let you know for sure if I ever reach there.