It is a demon always looking over my shoulder or standing in between my life and me. It is dark and mysterious and the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered. I am in constant fear of being consumed by it and that is a rational fear because it has certainly consumed large quantities of my life and energy and spirit. Not only does it steal your life while you’re living it, it affects your ability to be able to remember your past. When it is present things literally look, smell, and sound different. What is this monster forever lurking in the shadows? My depression.
In moments of strength I realize that my depression cannot do anything to me that I do not allow. But when I am sliding down a steep slope into complete despair that is not how it feels. For most of my life I have felt completely controlled by clinical depression. It has been both a shadowy monster constantly hovering over me and a comforting friend who is always there; I have let it define me for most of my life. It has been a burden to me and those who love me but I was never quite able to shake it and chase away that monster. I have been on medication and off medication, in therapy and out of therapy and still it bedevils me. Sometimes it is content to watch me from afar and I can feel its eyes on me. Other times it inhabits my soul and rearranges my thoughts. And, oddly, at times its presence comforts me.
It is insidious and has affected every aspect of my life. It has threatened my ability to work and certainly forced all the joy out of my life. It is an illness that affects not only the person suffering from it, but also the people who love her. I am thankful that my parents were so supportive but there is only so much other people can do. I have suffered from depression since I was a little girl and it has stolen large chunks of my life.
I am finally on medication that works for me but I am ever vigilant about it. I do not want it to creep back into my life the way it used to be. The thing that helped me the most was realizing that I was not alone; that other people shared some of my experiences of the disease. I feel stronger now than I have ever felt before and feel more confident that I can conquer the monster that is depression.