A lot of talk and writing about depression emphasizes the beauty of getting “back to normal.” They emphasize the goal of “feeling yourself again.” For people like me who missed the Treatment Train and the Full Recovery Boat during their first one or two or four major episodes of depression, such talk sounds like high pitched jibberish.
How far back would you have to go to be “yourself” again? So far back it’s not really you anymore.
At best, you realize that recovery for you will mean reinventing yourself. At worst, you are paralyzed by the ‘realization’ that depression has become one of your defining characteristics (Enter dejected apathy).
Either way, it’s hard to imagine a future without depression because it would have such little resemblance to your present or your past.
For some, this can be a rallying cry. I will FIGHT until I WIN and depression DOES NOT OWN ME. It WILL NOT define me! If that’s how you’re feeling and it’s motivating, that’s great. Go with it.
For me, it feels more like a call for acceptance.
Fuck it. It’s true. The experience of depression has changed my life. Forever. In terribly negative ways. Ways that can’t be undone. Maybe I lost a few years. Maybe I lost some potential. Maybe I lost a job, a partner, a friend. Maybe my family fell apart. That hurt really really bad and fuck it. It happened. I wasn’t dealt the best hand and I wasn’t dealt the worst.
It feels like accepting the fact of depression in my life is a prerequisite to moving on.
I’m told that the experience of recovery will change my life forever too and that sounds right. I don’t think recovery will bring me “back” to normal. I don’t think it’ll bring me back to anywhere. I imagine a new calmness, a peace I can’t yet picture – because it is so blessedly different from the present.
A peace that feels like moving on.