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By Jordan Lueder
I waited patiently for my train, which seemed to be much slower than the ones that had been zooming back and forth behind me. They went so fast that my heart skipped a beat as one of them flew by. I don’t know whether it was the rush of wind I felt on my back or the image of myself jumping in front of the train that made me shiver, but I just as quickly closed my eyes. I could’ve started crying right then. Instead, I unsteadily stood there reminding myself – only if it gets worse, only if it gets worse.
When I was depressed, there would be moments when I sat on the floor after a long hot shower, just staring at the pile of clothes that were in front of me. I couldn’t even bear to reach out and pick up a pair of jeans. I felt so weak that nothing seemed worth the effort anymore. Depression does this funny thing where it forces you to choose the option that only feeds it even more. Lay in bed, starve yourself, skip hanging out with friends, fail classes, ignore phone calls. It was like I already didn’t exist, so dying didn’t seem like that much of an extreme decision at the time.
After a couple of years of therapy, self-help book indulging, pages of writing and few attempts with anti-depressants, I was starting to find myself having days that I actually enjoyed. I think this was even more difficult than just being depressed all the time, because I’d believe my illness was gone only to find myself the next day curled up in bed, unwilling to move.
It was strange because there would be these times I didn’t want to exist and within 24 hours I would be completely ecstatic and wanting to get the most I could out of life. I was struggling still. I was so afraid to be sad, because I knew what my sadness could do to me. It made me think irrationally, causing me to have days contemplating whether life was worth it or not, even though deep down I knew it was.
Once I began having more good days than bad, I don’t think life had ever seemed so beautiful to me. Laughing became uncontrollable and I started enjoying even the outmost minuscule of things. I went from dreading the sun peaking out from my blinds, detesting any plans I made previously in attempt to get myself out of bed to feeling the breeze when making a left turn in a hot car as the windows were down and thanking God for it.
Some people will never have this experience in life. It never gets painful enough to where they want to end it all only to realize the next day that even the bright colors of flowers can make their pupils dilate and lips form a grin once again. And it’s not that I’d wish this upon anyone, but this is what caused me to truly be grateful for the little things in life.
What used to be miracles when we were children are no longer miracles, they are simply everyday occurrences. We see the color blue so often that it becomes rather dull over beautiful. We stare at our own reflection and grow tired of it, instead of loving it. We smell our freshly done laundry expecting it’s flowery scent, rather than truly enjoying the inhale.
I think this is how depression can thrive, by forgetting that we must be grateful for the treasure of just simply being alive. Being able to feel a breeze, to stare at colorful flowers or sniff freshly washed sheets. They are such little things in life, but damn do these little things create a big difference in how you view your own existence.
Dealing with depression has been one of the most difficult struggles I have had to face, but this is what it took for me to really appreciate my life as much as I do now. Instead of closing my eyes and imagining myself jumping, I picture myself flying. Not in a literal sense, but I imagine all the possibilities I have with this life given to me. I can only hope that anyone else who is experiencing such severe depression endures the time and pain it may take to eventually feel this same way.