No Matter the Past

Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of depression, self-harm and suicide.

After struggling with depression for most of my childhood and teens, I found my way out in my early 20s. I gained a new, lighter perspective on the world, opened myself up to new experiences and ideas, and, despite struggling from time to time, generally felt like my life was fuller than it ever had been. But, a few months ago, my perspective began to darken again. At first, I thought I was just tired and chalked it up to life changes and too little sleep. 

Slowly, everything began to feel like a chore. Going to work, doing the dishes, brushing my teeth, even going out with friends started to feel like an insurmountably large item to check off a never-ending list. I’d over-caffeinate to push through my checklist, barely able to keep up, forcing myself to do tasks, but feeling no enjoyment from the activities that would normally give me the most joy; they were tasks now.

Once I realised I was experiencing anhedonia, I knew I was depressed again. But, I tried to convince myself otherwise. Most days, I’d feel exhausted, unmotivated, irritable, and spend a nice chunk of time crying just to tell myself it was a circumstantial mood caused by a rough day or a bad night’s sleep, etc., anything but depression. I knew I was wrong, but continued to tell myself I wasn’t. 

Why? Because I was scared. I was depressed again but without the thoughts of suicide and self-harm I had in the past… yet. I was terrified of those thoughts coming back and losing myself in them again. I liked who I had become in my 20s, I had more bandwidth to be myself rather than a watered-down version of myself because I was too busy trying not to hurt myself. I thought if I began feeling that way again, I’d lose my fuller self. I also didn’t want to see a psychiatrist. I've been to more psychiatrists than I can count. A few were good, but I found most to be dismissive and moderately helpful at best. With what little energy I had, I didn’t see the use in spending it talking to someone who wouldn’t listen. So, I continued lying to myself about not being depressed, allowing the depression to take over more and more. 

A few months of this passed and I had a hard conversation (that didn’t go well) about how I was doing with someone I loved, or tried to, but I was too tired and unfocused to articulate myself the way I wanted. I was so upset with how my depression was beginning to affect my relationships that I reached out to a psychiatrist. I was totally honest with her about what I felt, where I’d been in the past with depression, what I’d tried, and why I had been reluctant to seek help based on past experiences. We talked, she listened, and she was immensely helpful. The treatment she prescribed is working better than anything I’ve ever tried. Because I reached out, I didn’t get to the point of experiencing thoughts of suicide and self-harm.  

For many of us who have had long histories with mental health, there can be a reluctance to reach out for one reason or another, which is valid. But, it’s important to push through that reluctance and try sooner rather than later. Maybe the first time you seek help isn’t beneficial, then you can try again or look for an alternative. There’s always hope for what lies ahead, no matter your past experiences.


Voices of hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.