This I Leave by Susan H.

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If I leave, I leave the harmful mental state that threatens my emotional health. Yes, I still recall the feelings of despondent misery. Life seemed so bleak and not worth living at the worst moment. Yes, it’s called Depression. And the culprit, cognitive distortions. I’m glad I have a name for it now. It no longer feels like shooting in the dark. I now have a clear view of the target!

It all started as benign as “I can’t do this. It’s too hard!” or perhaps it’s the adults reprimanding you in your childhood. Pretty soon it evolves into the thought “I’m not good enough”. Eventually you judge yourself as a total failure. This kind of downward spiral may take a long time to develop, but the onset can be so sudden and leave you defenseless. It’s like a malign cancer cell that’s hidden and lurking. It’s so hard to get rid of. And when you think you finally did, it simply lies dormant.

The suffering of emotional instability feels like a ghost trying to haunt me for the rest of my life. It does wicked things from time to time to paralyze me and make it difficult to enjoy life. To my surprise, I have discovered that the more I wrestle it, the tighter its grip.

On top of all that, the tacit social unacceptance (reads Stigma), whether perceived or real, feeds into the idea of isolating and judging oneself (sometimes by choice, sometimes by the lack of it), which leaves the person even more isolated. After all, “neurotic” or “eccentric” are used as self-deprecating term by braver souls but euphemism with negative connotation for those less inclined to reveal their flaws.

So my secrets had been “locked away” for many years. Levine’s lyric “If I showed you my flaws. If I couldn’t be strong. Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?” somehow speaks directly to my struggle. It suddenly dawned on me that this is a good question to ask myself. Would I still love me the same, if I showed the world my flaws, if I couldn’t be strong?

The answer is Yes. I must stand by me. I have to love myself to allow healing and recovery to start. Luckily I now have renewed strength and have found genuine support and more knowledge about Depression. Anxiety and depression doesn’t define me as a person. It’s a health issue not entirely uncommon. It’s something I’m experiencing right now. It can be temporary. My condition could get better or get worse. And I choose to get better using all my power and resources available.

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