I’d never really enjoyed running. That is, I’d never really enjoyed running until I ran my way out of depression.
When I ran alongside the river this morning I felt euphoria. I smiled at fellow runners passing by, I felt my body push itself through the final stretch, I felt cool, crisp air against my face, I listened to the church bells chime, I became taken aback by the incredible beauty of the nature around me, my heart warmed at the sight of young children walking with their parents, I thought to myself how incredibly lucky I am to know the people I do – I felt bliss. I’d never experienced this kind of joy until recently – this pure, absolute happiness. It was this kind of run that stopped me in my tracks, quite literally, to say to myself: thank you, depression.
I lived through my own personal hell. There is nothing that knows you better than your own self, and when you struggle through depression, this disease uses this knowledge to take. you. down. Depression nags at your deepest, darkest, fears and insecurities. It knows how to do this so efficiently that it even tricks you into blaming everything else in your life for making you feel this way. It must be how your parents brought you up, it must be that ex boyfriend that treated you so horribly, it must be because I’m not smart enough, it must be because I’m not skinny enough, it must be because I have no friends, it’s must be something beyond my control.
After 2 dreadful, unspeakable years, I won by battle with depression by blaming the real villain: the disease. I squashed him. He didn’t like when I took medication to alter the chemical imbalances in my brain? Good, I’ll show him. He didn’t like when I learned to stop putting so much pressure on myself to get perfect grades? Perfect, I’ll practice self-care like no one has ever seen it before. He didn’t like when I did things simply out of enjoyment and pleasure? Excellent, I’ll join yoga, I’ll shop because I feel like it, I’ll eat a piece of pie because I deserve a piece of pie, I’ll go out with my friends on the weekend because I’m young, I’ll spend an entire night listening to incredible music in the light of a scented candle with a damn good book. And why? Because it makes me furiously happy. I am furiously happy – I am happy and I want to shove it in depression’s face. “See? See what you did? You tried to tear me down and look where that got you? I’m happier than I ever have been before. Suck on that.”
As I looked out from a walking bridge onto a beautiful city that I now call home, I’ve never felt so incredibly lucky. This is where I am meant to be, and depression helped me get here. Depression made me grow exponentially as a person and as a woman. I know myself, I know my limits, I know my darkness, and I am learning about my light. Without depression, I wouldn’t have been strong or smart enough to learn one of the most important lessons thus far in my life: it takes a strong person to persevere through roadblock after roadblock, but it takes an even stronger person to admit their defeat and accept their limits.
So, you better watch yourself depression, because this girl isn’t backing down now – she’s coming back at you full force, even stronger than before.