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How I'm Learning Not to Fear Recovery From Depression

The Mighty logo The Mighty 10/21/2019 Talia Bina
a person wearing a costume: A woman in a jean jacket and black hat dancing in front of a painted wall smiling © The Mighty A woman in a jean jacket and black hat dancing in front of a painted wall smiling

I saw a post on Instagram that said, “I am happy, hurting and healing at the same time. Don’t ask me how I’m doing it because I don’t know, but I’m doing it and I’m so proud of myself.”

Living without depression these past few years has been extremely confusing. When I was severely depressed, all I wanted was to feel better and to not struggle with it every single day. I wanted feeling happy to be easier. But for a long time, I didn’t let myself learn how to be fully happy. I was afraid of the change because having depression was what I knew and what I had become comfortable with. There was a part of me that thought if I got better, I wouldn’t be the same person I built myself to be and people wouldn’t value me as much as they did when they knew I was fighting.

People admire fighters. They admire people who have countless obstacles in front of them but keep pushing through them. So when I finally discovered how to deal with my issues in a healthier way that could potentially lead me away from depression, I was a bit freaked out. The possibility of being happy was so close and yet the idea of not being a fighter anymore was scary. But I realized people also admire survivors. People who have previously struggled are just as strong as people who are currently struggling. And it wasn’t until I accepted and understood this that I could still embrace my past in a healthy way that would leave me and the people around me with the knowledge and support and experience that I recovered from my depression.

I’m still struggling to figure out the line between depression and sadness. I understand sadness so well that when it elevates, I become paranoid my depression is returning and I give into it. I tell myself the world doesn’t want me to be happy. It’s hard to understand not being depressed doesn’t mean I won’t be sad. Having depression is like the one streak of sunshine in a sky full of clouds, while recovering from depression is one cloud in a sky full of sunshine. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever be sad. It doesn’t mean everything’s going to be good all of the time. It simply means I will have more good days than bad.

Right now, I’m hurting. There are a lot of things going on in my life that often leave me in tears. I’m not doing as well as I would like. But overall, I am happy. I am no longer struggling with depression. I spend time with the people I love. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things and not take life for granted. So, I’m happy. But at the same time, I’m healing. I’m trying to overcome the obstacles in front of me while also digging through the unresolved issues of my past and finally accepting that I have to deal with them. I’m doing it and I’m proud of myself.

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