I Left My Cushy Job to Study Depression. Here’s What I Learned.

The self-loathing that often strikes in adolescence can fuel our inner critics

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

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Mariana Barakchieva

“You are 25 and already running your own business. Do you know how many people twice your age wish they could say that?”

My friend, a producer at the BBC, is baffled. I’ve just told her about my depression and how it’s only been getting worse since I co-founded a startup company two years earlier. She’s having none of it. In her mind, I’m living the life, and she’s stuck working for the man. I want to tell her that I’m drowning and losing it, fast. But she has that look on her face—one of genuine bewilderment on the cusp of spilling into mild reproach—and I know what’s coming. I’ve heard a version of it one too many times over the past months: You’ll snap out of it, hon. Just think positive! Look on the bright side! Be grateful!

But I don’t snap out of it. Depression and I go a long way back. I’ve denied, ignored, and stuffed it down for years. I’ve fought it and fled it, and when nothing worked, I walked for 500 miles across Spain, twice, in a desperate attempt to exorcise it. All in vain.

One thing I learned was that even at our most fragile, we are more resilient than we imagine…

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Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

Social entrepreneur & editor of ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ — deeply personal stories by 13 authors & thinkers https://amzn.to/3dFG683