By Ais O’Brien
Depression is both my nemesis and my best friend. It is the cause of all things bad but it makes everything seem normal too. It makes it hard to survive one day, but you can’t get through one day without its presence. It’s not being able to forget my past while not seeing a future. You are both the prison and the prisoner. It feels like being an actress playing yourself in a film, where you’re forced to keep smiling.
There isn’t any definition for depression in my opinion. Every person is unique to their own situation, we feel similar yet different. No two “sufferers” are the same. This is what makes it such a deadly disease, it cannot be defined, it cannot be understood.
This piece is not about how I can understand you. It is not to lecture you on what you should do. It is not to compare myself to you, nor say that I am any better or worse. It is to share my struggle and my outlook, to prove that the show goes on. I don’t expect you to understand, you won’t. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can make the choices I made, maybe it can help one person. That’s my sole reason.
For me the battle is clinical depression. It is not the result of one single thing, it is spiralled by an array of things; my life. Sometimes I don’t feel happy simply because I don’t feel happy. My reasons can be big, small or may not seem like reasons at all but they make sense to me.
Your emotions and feelings can affect your behaviour. Your behaviour shapes who you become or appear to become. If I’m feeling my worst, I will think negatively, act negatively, speak negatively and be just a generally impossible person to be around, or at least that’s how it feels.
But there came a time when it was just me and depression sitting in a room again, staring at four walls and I realised that I didn’t want this for myself anymore, I didn’t deserve it. Its not as easy as that sounds and some days you’ll feel like you’re back to square one but I’m proof that things can change.
Everybody’s battle is valid, not everyone’s story is the same. Depression takes a different form in each person it touches. The task is to tame it. It is not simple. It takes time and there will be setbacks and times you want to give up. But it is possible, that I promise you.
Ok, you don’t know what the future holds in store for you but that’s the excitement, who really knows anyway? Bad things have happened, but why live in the fear of them happening again? It’s worth seeing what happens, and when things happen they’re for a reason.
Life is worth living, people are worth meeting and places are worth seeing. Your smile should be seen and your laugh should be heard, just as the tears and cries are.
No amount of councillors or medication are ever going to cure me, but that is just me. Ultimately, we are the leader of our own rise and master of our demise. You may not be similar to me but that is not to say you won’t get past whatever it is that you’re going through. And when you do, you’ll be stronger because of it. We are just ordinary people looking to achieve an extraordinary thing.
I like the quiet life and to be by myself sometimes. I’m immature but only because I feel like I’ve missed out on years of living. I can get lonely, but that makes me appreciate the close friends I am so lucky to have. I have tried to amend my mistakes, all I ask is that you take my hand and shake it. I might not always greet you with a smile but that does not mean I’m not trying. I may not have the nicest things but what I have I will share with you. I worry far too much but that will only make me a good mother some day. I might not trust too easily but your trust in me I will respect. I can get needy every now and then but its just a momentary female thing! I love Cork more than anywhere, so just don’t badmouth it, you won’t win kid. I may seem quiet around you but that is only because I’m in awe of you. I may not be the best for keeping in contact but know that you’re special to me. I might not have much money, but I will give you what you need. I have hurt myself but the scars are only memories now. I used to not understand, now I realise that you can’t.
These are things that make me who I am. Some have always been, some because of what has been. Our flaws can create strengths, if only we saw it that way.
I have not written this for your sympathy, I don’t want it. I don’t want recognition or a changed opinion of me. I’m just a normal 21 year old. I don’t want to bullshit you, I’d rather refresh you. I just want people to read this and hopefully someone will find some comfort. You may agree and you may not, that’s fine because I can’t understand.
I am not by any means ‘cured’, no one is ever really safe but I’m on a good road. Life isn’t easy, people and things will always knock you back but you must learn to keep hope in yourself. Believe it.
I’ll see you on the other side.