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


7 Responses to Forgetting

  1. Hope says:

    Hmmm. I do understand what you’re saying, about wanting to remember, so that you can also realize that God’s grace was with you, and you made it through something awful.

    But maybe you feel you can’t survive it, even though you already have, because it feels like you could be back in the middle of it at anytime? Depression is a scary thing, and you might feel like it could sneak up on you again.

  2. Wow – when reading this post it was though you were talking about my life – what a comfort it was to read this. I too (when after being ADEQUATELY TREATED and am feeling better) always seem to forget just how bad it was before… One time I even stopped taking my meds (dumb move I know) because I thought I was strong enough that I didn’t need them anymore. I keep forgetting how bad the bouts of depression can be when I’m feeling fine – and I never stopped to wonder why I do that? Why DO we so easily forget how bad it was? Do you have any thoughts on that? I have a session with my therapist tomorrow and I think I might bring that up with her…I guess I push those awful memories aside because I think that if I start remembering them I’ll “go backwards”…does that make sense at all? Anyway – thanks for posting this site – I love your blog and am going to add it to my blog page.

    Take care,
    Christine 🙂

    • broken saint says:

      Good, so I’m not crazy! Or at least I have company! 🙂 I’d love to hear what your therapist says if you feel like sharing, and I’ll check out your blog!

      • Ha! Nope – not crazy – actually – I think we’re the sane ones and everyone else is crazy 🙂 I’ll definitely let you know what my therapist thinks. I think it’s an interesting question!! Talk to you soon!! 🙂

  3. Okay – so I had my session today and I’m going to share with you what my therapist said 🙂

    She suggested that I keep a journal/notebook of all my depressive episodes and what triggered them. I have Dysthymic Disorder (aka chronic depression)… which then turns into bouts of more severe depression due to certain circumstances (called “situational depression”) – so each time one of these episodes occur, I need to write down why it happened – and how I coped / dealt with it… It’s important to understand too though that what may have worked for a previous bout of depression may not work for the next one… but you’ll have a list of what you did in the past and that can help.

    I don’t like to think about my depression when I’m not having a bad bout of it – therefore I thought it was wrong of me not to continue to read self-help books or listen to tapes, etc… the thought of doing so only gave me anxiety – because it reminded me of when I was severely depressed – and that’s why I “forget about them”…

    It’s only natural that we want to forget these episodes – after all – who would want to remember when they were in so much pain? It makes sense really.

    She also suggested that when you notice things in life are taking a “turn for the worse” (a loved one is sick or there’s news of a POSSIBLE layoff, etc.) that you start preparing yourself AHEAD of time – so that if something DOES happen – you’ll be more prepared and the blow won’t be as bad…

    I hope some of this has been helpful to you… and that it makes sense in your situation…


  4. broken saint says:

    It is helpful and it does make sense. thank you for sharing!!

  5. Grace says:

    Broken Saint,

    I just wanted to drop by, and say that I appreciate your openness in sharing here, and also your comment over at the Red-headed skeptic.

    Look forward to reading more of your posts.

    God bless!!

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