Moving at Your Own Pace

Depression has affected a lot of my life.  If you do the math (and trust me, I don’t do math often), I’ve been clinically depressed for over a third of my life, and though I’m not depressed now, I still fear the day that the same familiar feeling- or rather, lack of feeling- comes back to drag me down again.

I don’t know the particular reasons why I stopped being depressed, but it just seemed to happen.  Likewise, there’s no isolated reason for why I was depressed in the first place.  It could have been a number of factors, it could have been some weird existential crisis, it could have been stress from school, a car wreck, my general feelings of worthlessness, it could have been all of these things combined.

Nothing appealed to me at all, not even bad puns, and I was so afraid of going nowhere with my life that I forced myself into stagnation- where paradoxically, I could not go anywhere with my life.  I wanted time to stop, I wanted to be a blade of grass and sit in the sun all day, I no longer wanted to exist, because existence had become painful and horrible.  They say that every cloud has a silver lining, but I didn’t even have any clouds.  There was nothing.

Sure, there were isolated moments of happiness, and whenever I could feel my self-worth slipping I would boost it with narcissistic statements of how great I was (which actually works, believe it or not), so while my self-confidence was ridiculous, I still placed very little value in my life as a whole.

I really don’t know or understand why it suddenly stopped being like this, but one day a while back I exited a room feeling extremely great and I’ve been feeling relatively good ever since.  Sure, I’ve had bad days, and I’ve been sad, but I haven’t been depressed, and it feels wonderful.  However, as I said earlier, I am plagued by the constant fear that one day it will come back.  I shouldn’t worry about it, I know, but it’s hard not to.

It’s frustrating (albeit incredibly unsurprising), but depression affects all people differently.  If someone else is going through depression, I find myself at a terrible loss for things to say (aside from the incredibly generic “˜things get better!’, which I know from experience does not help).  But the thing is, everyone moves at their own pace, regardless of how they’re feeling.  You can’t just force someone out of depression; they have to overcome it on their own terms, and sometimes that process takes years to happen.

Lauren Schroeter is a junior religion and geology major.