I live with major depressive disorder. This article details how I’ve navigated the world with a diagnosed mental health disorder as my co-pilot. There was a time when I didn’t know what it was; depression is not something a Black person necessarily grows up understanding. My journey to understand and accept it is riddled with trials and tribulations, but I hope you find solace in my tale of woe and wellness.
It all started this morning when I woke up and wished I hadn’t. I’m prone to vivid dreams, some delightful, others less so. Hearing my alarm signal me to get out of bed and start my day is a waking nightmare. It means I have to deal with people, deal with technology, deal with the stress that comes with all the above. It means I have to deal with myself. It usually takes me an hour or so to get out of bed, not because I’m physically incapable, but because my brain, or something in my brain, is broken. At least that’s what the voice inside my head tells me — that I’m better off wasting away in bed all day. That I’m better off dead. To distract myself from these thoughts, I grab my second brain, a.k.a. my smartphone, and check all my social media accounts for validation in the form of a red balloon with a number in it. How many “Likes” did my posts get? I get lost in the lives of my friends and perfect strangers. Everyone looks so happy on social media. Then I start thinking “Why can’t I feel as happy as they appear?” Then comes the spiral. The Gray Hand grabs hold, guiding me further and further into self-doubt. I question my own self-worth. The familiar darkness emerges; it’s where my depression thrives. While The Gray Hand is smaller than it used to be, it’s still there to lead me to known places of resentment and self-harm.Fortunately at the bottom of that spiral of despair, there is a door. That door is the way out. Unfortunately, I have to go through the worst of it to get to the best of it.
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