During my four years of high school, I struggled to cope with feelings of deep sadness. I attributed them to the condition of being a teenager and the “angst” that one experiences during adolescent years. What I didn’t know, and what I know now, is that It didn’t go away after high school. I didn’t pinpoint the fact that I was still struggling with depression. I believed that what I was feeling was normal. I thought that experiencing sadness was normal and that everybody had a different way of coping. What I didn’t know is the kind of sadness I experienced regularly—the kind where you sob, and sob, and sob, as if you’re grieving—that kind is not exactly what “normal” bouts of blues are about. That kind, the one that had been ongoing for seven years, is nothing less than depression (and untreated depression, no matter how much we can try meditating) should be taken care of professionally. I sought help and treatment and I am feeling incredibly good.
For years, I had relied on journaling, exercise, and music, but there was a point in my depression where I just couldn’t function and one thing led to another and there was psychosis as a result of depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. I learned that I was living in Despair. I never sought help for my problems, which I didn’t believe were mental health problems. I tried to “deal with it” myself, and as it turns out, that was more self-destructive than beneficial to my health. I learned that—although I had not chosen depression—I had chosen Despair by not taking action when I had the opportunity to.
I never understood the concept of Hope until my incident, when I realized what was important: living day to day to get better and using Hope as a way to gain strength. The prospect of getting better was more promising than the everyday challenges of becoming this new person, or better said, entering a stage of my life when I finally let other people take care of me when I was too weak to take care of myself. However, if I had not experienced Despair, I would not know Hope. And as I look back to favorite quotes and book excerpts discussing these, I finally understand what it had meant all along to truly want to live. It is experiencing Hope everyday—Hope that we will get better everyday. For those struggling with depression or anxiety or both, just know that there are people out there who are willing to help if you voice your concerns and let them help you. You are not alone in the battle of Hope vs. Despair.
For those in the same process that I am currently going through—the process of recovery and getting better—just know that it is important to take it one day at a time and not feel anxious or despair but to feel hope. Hope that the next day you will be just a little bit stronger. If you’re accepting positive changes and trying your best every day, you will get stronger each day.
In the battle between Hope vs. Despair, Hope wins.
In the battle between Life and Death, Life wins.
Just be willing to accept that change takes time, but change is progress. And it is all a process.