On the Fifth Anniversary of my Hospitalization, I'm Still Broken

I guess I thought the hospital would fix me.

Five years ago, I wandered through Kentucky mist and into the counselor's office, where I sat on a couch and sobbed and let her know I was thinking dangerous thoughts. And when she suggested going to the hospital, I guess I thought that would make it all better.

It didn't.

I guess it helped, because I'm here, five years later, writing this post. Rattling around in the world. 

But it didn't fix me like I thought it would.

When I emerged two days later into Kentucky snow, I thought I would never have those feelings again. That helplessness, that horror, that knowledge that the only way to be free was to be dead.

I don't really have the words to express just how crappy a feeling that is. To reach a place where you're in so much pain, utter agony really, that you think the best option is death. Where you think things will never get better. It's kind of like...if you're going through a really long tunnel, and you're four years old, and you're claustrophobic. And the tunnel stretches on and on and on, and it never ends, and the pressure mounts against you until you can't breathe because you know you're never going to make it out alive.

And then suddenly you break free! You're in the open again. You're exultant, elated, because you survived. For a moment or two, a quarter mile, maybe more, you're so proud of yourself for having survived. And you know you'll never have to go back.

Until you do.

Because around the bend is another tunnel; and after it, another. You're on a road that never ends in a mountain that ranges eternally, and there will be tunnel after tunnel with no relief, ever. 

That's depression. Unrelenting, impossible to escape. It consumes your consciousness and eats away at whatever hope you may have had. It's life-altering.

That's how I live. I live my life broken. Knowing that the smallest things will set me off. An unreturned text, an unrequited love, a missed step here or a misspoken word there can send me positively crumbling.

There's defeat in living with depression, in knowing I'm almost at the mercy of this illness that's trying to eat me alive.

But there's victory in living with depression as well, victory in living, continuing to survive and even thrive despite it.

There are so many things I want to see and do and accomplish and experience in this life. True love. Holding my published book in my hands. Traveling to new places on all the continents. A kiss. Seoul. South Africa. Writing more and better books. And more, and more, and more.

Ahh. There is life I want to live. I do it with the knowledge that sometimes depression will steal my light like a hard fall steals my breath. It casts a pall on things, it does. 

But knowing I'm going to keep living them despite that? It truly helps.