“Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” -Helen Keller
I have suffered from depression for 15 years. Most of that time it has been manageable through medication, therapy, and support from my friends and family. For the past year though, the loss of my mother has sent me into a depression that I didn’t even know existed. This is a topic that I could write on for a week, and eventually I will. But today, today I am talking about hope (I’m not always an emotional downer). I have been living in a fog that has left me incapacitated for the past year. I had gotten to a point where I didn’t even believe that I could ever come out of it. I’ve tried three therapists in the past year, I have tried at least a half a dozen different medications. Nothing ever seemed to help. I’m on enough pharmaceuticals now where they take the edge off but I’ve been far from functional. The past ten days I have been staying on the couch of my best friend’s condo- my home. I always feel better when I’m with her. I never feel alone, I feel loved, I get a sense of my old self- someone with confidence and self esteem. This effect is always short lived as I have to head back to my life of responsibilities at some point. Whenever I leave I fall right back into the hole of my unhealthy relationship and loneliness. This has been a cycle for months on end. I’m leaving in the morning to head back to my house, but this time it’s different… She’s coming with me. I have fought so hard to find normalcy and to break out of this haze, and for the first time I see the possibility. I have always dreaded going back to my abandoned apartment. The mess and disgust lying in wait for us gives me anxiety. I keep warning her that we’re walking into an episode of hoarders but I don’t think there is a way to completely convey just how bad this is going to be. I’m mortified that someone will be seeing my mess, my failure. Luckily, she is my guiding light and the brightest star in my life, so I know she’ll walk in, just give me a smile, and say- let’s get to work. This is the first time that I have wanted to live back in my apartment. I feel strong enough to live alone. I feel proud that I want to take this on and initiate a fresh start. Most people my age are well beyond established in a home, they have husbands and wives and children. I haven’t even figured out how to live. It is discouraging and humiliating to think how much I’m struggling to take a step that an 18 year old should be facing as a challenge, not a 31 year old. I know that we all move at different paces in our lives but I was supposed to be a Stepford Wife kind of girl, not barely hanging on, alone. I also have the privilege of welcoming a new support in my life. I met a man years ago when my boyfriend and I were on our break/break up and he has stayed active in my life for all of these years. His patience and support is unparalleled. He believes in me and thinks I can do anything. Between having my best friend with me and the regained support of this remarkable man, I feel like they have finally convinced me that I am worth happiness. I want to do this for me. I want to do this for them, for believing in me. I just want to succeed. I care enough to push myself when before I didn’t even care enough to get out of bed. Tomorrow we will walk into the front door of the unknown, a minefield of the past year of my life. And when that thought would have previously sent me into a panic and caused me to shut down, now I’m excited to charge in and get it done. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I have to remember to use my support system. I can’t set my expectations too high, I need to be reasonable about my goals. But to even be thinking this way is such a huge step from where I was. I am heading into the unknown and I’m okay with that… So here we go.