Originally written by Jessica Rabaey on Unwritten
It’s been almost two years since I walked into a depression and anxiety treatment center. I vividly remember the car ride there with my parents ― they were both trying to be strong for me and reassure me it was the right place for me to be at the time. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact I had to be admitted to a treatment facility. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact I couldn’t beat the depression on my own as I had so many times before.
I recall being embarrassed about it. I dreaded telling anyone I was there. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for myself because all my friends my age were out enjoying the summer, while I was spending mine visiting with several doctors and nurses to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.
Fast forward to the present moment, and I can’t fathom what my life would be like if I hadn’t gone there.
Life’s funny that way. You never appreciate the value of an experience until it’s in the past. Especially when you’re going through a hard time. It’s difficult to see outside of it. It’s difficult to imagine not being miserable. A life outside of your problems seems unattainable in those moments. But when you get through the tough times or your problems slowly begin to vanish, you appreciate the journey that led you there.
I wanted a quick fix, and truly that’s what I thought I was going to get when I went to treatment. I learned quickly it doesn’t work that way. It’s a complicated, long, exhausting and scary road to happiness. It’s like digging yourself out of a dark, deep hole with a plastic shovel. It isn’t easy, and it’s frustrating, but once you get out you look back and are proud you worked so hard to get out.
If you struggle with depression you know it’s an ongoing battle. It isn’t solved magically with medication (as some doctors seem to believe); it takes work every single day. You might keep breaking that plastic shovel and feel like you’ll never surface again, but I promise you will. You’ll find another shovel, and you won’t give up.
In the depths of my depression, I was convinced I’d never be the same again. And you know what? I’m not. I’ll never be the same person I was before my depression hit with full force. But I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it because I’m stronger now. All the work I put in paid off in the end and changed me for the better.
I’m not as troubled by everyday problems. Maybe because I know things could be a lot worse for me. Don’t get me wrong; when I’m sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for two hours I’m not a happy person. I have to keep reminding myself to be thankful I’m in a healthier place.
If you are still struggling to find happiness, keep digging. You will get there if you are persistent and believe you can change. I’ll bet there are people around you who would be more than willing to help dig you out. Take the support and the kind words people are offering to you.