Therapy Didn’t Rid Me Of My Depression. But It Helped Me Understand It

It’s true when they say pains that don’t get discussed aren’t perceived as important or even real to the rest of the world.

Susan Cheng

--

“You’re scaring me,” my sister said quietly as I sobbed into the phone. Her voice was steady, unlike mine. It was September 2015 — not the first time I’d called her during one of my episodes. I’d learned in college that a wandering mind and alcohol don’t go well together; whenever I drank too much, it became difficult for me to process anxiety and sadness, usually culminating in drunken, frenzied calls to my sister. But that day, I was wide-awake and sober, balled up on my couch in the middle of the afternoon, wailing for no apparent reason.

Thousands of miles away from home and having exhausted the patience of my friends in Los Angeles, I felt completely and utterly alone with no idea how to make the pain I felt go away. As much as I didn’t want to alarm my younger sibling, I didn’t know what else to do or what I might have done had she not answered.

“Some days you’re up, some days you’re down,” she told me gently. “I think you need help.”

I’ve never had the urge to hurt myself, but I remember genuinely wishing I didn’t have to be alive that day. If I were dead, I told myself, then at least I wouldn’t have to live with these thoughts anymore. Later that night, I had another episode, and I cried until I was numb. With nothing to lose and at my sister’s urging, I decided I’d try talking to someone. The following day, I dialed the number of the first therapist I found listed on my insurance’s website.

“What is the reason for your appointment?” The woman who picked up had sounded so clinical over the phone.

“I’m depressed,” I responded, choking up. It was the first time I’d called my affliction by its name.

It’s true when they say pains that don’t get discussed aren’t perceived as important or even real to the rest of the world.

In the days prior to my appointment, I was so ready to acknowledge that I was unwell, feeling lighter for the first time in months, counting down the days until I’d finally have help. But when faced with a…

--

--