An Open Letter to Depression

I love you.

No, I’m not being sarcastic or witty. I’m being deadly serious.

I love all the things you’ve taught me about life: how to be strong through the ups and downs, how to cope when life doesn’t go to play and how I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I was, just to name a few.

I don’t blame you for choosing me. When you sat there, lining up all your potential targets, eyeing them up one by one, I sometimes wonder what drew you towards me. But, when I reflect on the things I’ve seen prior in my life, I don’t blame you. I was an easy target – a quick win, if you will – and for the first few years, I played right into your hand.

Until, I didn’t.

At first I hated you, loathed you until I couldn’t feel anymore. I let you consume me whole, never even second guessing what you were doing. It felt natural to let you swallow me whole, taking me to the land of feeling numb where I could barely remember how to breath properly, let alone look after myself.

Of course, I tried to fight you away and, sometimes, you let me think that you’d gone. You’d let me get out of bed and, if I was really lucky, live my life for a few days. I always knew you’d be creeping around the corner though, like some stalker in the shadows and, before I knew it, you’d start to pull me back down into your world, swarming my skin.

But, you see, just as I thought you’d won, that I had no battle left in me, something in me snapped.

I stopped seeing you as my enemy and I slowly realised just how much of a friend you could be.

Instead of working against you, I worked with you, using what you were throwing at me for my own gain. I started to pick myself up; I learnt to look after myself again. It started small, a shower here, a bit of food there, but I realised that I was better than what you’d turned me into. That I was stronger than what you’d made me believe and I wasn’t ready to give up hope yet.

My battle with you has been long – some might say in excess of 10 years. I still have times where I’m battling, just like any normal person would. But, there’s a difference: I know just what I’m capable of now.

Now, when you start to cover my body in black ink, instead of letting you consume me, I know how to fight back. I’m learning just what it’s like to fight for myself, to believe in myself and, dare I say it, love myself too. Naturally, it’s something that I’m still learning to do, but I know I would never have got to this outcome if it wasn’t for you and, for that, I thank you.

Of course, there are days where I let you consume me; when even putting a foot out of bed is the hardest thing I have to do. But everyone has their bad days, right?

So, I thank you for teaching me how to be strong, for kicking me further to the ground when I didn’t think it was possible to get any closer than to visit hell itself.

By choosing me on that fateful day, you taught me so many lessons that I would have never know. I am a better person now than I ever was before because the challenges you gave me gave me perspective – a different way at looking at the world. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t know the value of my independence, of the people I have in my life now or the high standards I have about what I expect from life.

I thank you because I love the person I am now – something I never thought would happen. I love the unique way I see the world. I love knowing that, if I can get over you, I can get over pretty much anything. And, I love the life you’ve helped me build.

If you’d never chosen me on the frightful day, I wouldn’t have any of it and what a tragedy that would be.

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