As I’ve had longer stretches of being depression-free (or at least being adequately treated for it), I find myself forgetting what it’s like. I start thinking things like “Oh, it wasn’t that bad,” and “maybe I really could have snapped out of it.” Just like I never remember how much something hurt physically or how uncomfortable nausea actually is, I can’t remember how deep the emotional pain was. That has its good and bad points. None of us who have ever experienced severe depression want to feel like that for one minute longer than we already have. I want to be better and never look back, most of the time.
There’s a part of me, though, that wants to remember. I’m not sure I understand why, completely, but I think it has to do with validating my experience. As much as I want to forget how bad it was, I also want to know that I’m a strong person who got through it. That I’m a survivor. That I had the ability (by the grace of God) to make it through something really really horrendous. The problem seems to be that to remember, I have to remember. Every once in a while, I do really remember, or at least come close. When this happens, I feel like I can’t catch my breath. I’m overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the situation, and even though I feel better, I feel like I’ll never feel any better. Even though it’s already happened, it feels impossible. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone, and I’m not entirely sure it makes sense to me. How can something retroactively seem impossible? If I’ve already survived it, shouldn’t I be done feeling like I can’t survive it?
One year ago: Feeling Better