The majority of people just live, without thinking about not dying. For them, staying alive is sort of like an involuntary muscle, one that expands and contracts at exactly the right times without them ever having to think about its functions. I don’t have the luxury of not thinking about that muscle; I have to flex it consciously, even when it’s exhausted. To extend the metaphor here, even during my best times I need a sort of emotional pacemaker, and my bad times are spent desperately trying to find some kind of life support that will take over that muscle’s functions until my body is well enough to manage it on its own.
It’s been over a year since I began seeing a therapist, and I’m different from the person I was back then. I’m kinder to myself — something I picked up from all the people in my life who’ve shown me compassion and even from those who don’t understand or don’t want to understand my condition. I’m more patient with myself, having learned the importance of making time and space for my emotions through the many hours spent with my therapist. I see now that even though my depression will always be a part of me, it no longer cripples me. And most of all, I no longer hate myself for hurting.