An Open Letter To Anyone Battling Depression
To You Who Needs to Hear This - From My Heart to Yours,
In 2015, I took the screen out of my 5th floor apartment window, stuck my head outside, and tried to determine if the jump would kill me, or just terribly injure me. I was already in so much pain emotionally, the last thing I wanted to do was injure myself physically. What I wanted was to die. It's now almost 2018, I'm sitting in my bedroom, at my desk, writing to you. You who is currently battling with depression. You who is battling your own mind, day in and day out. You who doesn't necessarily want to die, but doesn't want to continue living like this anymore. Living with the pain. Living with the hopelessness. Living with the defeat. I've been where you are, I know the pain all too well. I think back to my own battle with depression, and I can still feel that sorrow. I feel it in my bones. I remember it as if it were yesterday.
I know you feel isolated, isolated from your loved ones, and isolated from the world. I know you worry that people won't understand. That people won't listen. That people won't take you seriously. I know you worry that people will judge you. That people will look at you differently. That people will leave you. You see, mental illness is incredibly isolating. Your mind forces you to believe that you're alone, that you're the only one that feels the way that you feel, that struggles the way that you do. That you're the only one that feels hopeless. The only one that struggles to feel a sense of purpose. The only one fighting a battle, day in and day out. But you're not.
I'm here to tell you, that no matter how alone you may feel, you're never alone. There are millions of us that struggle, struggle to thrive, and at times struggle to survive. There are millions of us, tied together by an invisible thread, all enduring the same pain, though unbeknownst to us. I have been in your very shoes, and some days those shoes still fit firmly on my feet.
When I tell you things can get better, you likely won't believe me. It seems impossible. It feels inconceivable that things could ever change. That you could ever change. That you could ever transition from surviving to thriving. It feels implausible that hope could ever reappear, that a sense of purpose could ever return, that things could ever be any different than they are, right now, in this very moment.
But you have to believe me. Things can change, and things will change. But it has to start with you. It starts with you admitting that you can't fight this battle alone. It starts with you accepting that you shouldn't have to fight this battle alone. That no one should have to fight this battle alone. It starts with you realizing that you are sick, not weak. It starts with you acknowledging that things are not working, and that you can't repair things solely on your own.
In order to heal, we must momentarily surrender. We must swallow our pride, and temporarily relinquish our independence. We must unclench our fists, and reach our hand out for help. Because we're human, and we could all use a little help sometimes. And the good news, is that someone will offer their help. Be it a loved one, a doctor, or a complete stranger on the Internet like myself. Someone will reach for your hand, but only if you reach for theirs first.
Though you may not see it, or feel it now, your pain is not without purpose. Months, or years from now you may be the one sitting at your desk, writing an open letter to those currently struggling, recalling the struggle you yourself endured, before arriving on the other side. And the other side is there. The other side of your pain, the other side of your suffering, it's there. It exists. You just can't see it yet. But you will, if you hold on, and reach out your hand. And I'm begging you to hold on. I'm begging you to reach out your hand for help. Because the world needs more people like you, like me – like us. People who can use our pain to helps others. People who can use our pain to remind others that they are not alone. People who can show their scars, to remind people that they, too, may heal. The world needs you.
From someone who has walked a mile in your shoes, and now walks alongside you - with my hand outstretched,