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Coming Out the Other Side This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Norwood Young America, MN
Sometimes I wonder if I'm “better.” I find myself and my life stuck on pause while I contemplate how I am now compared to how I was just a few months ago. I make mental pro and con lists to determine if I am ready to consider myself “recovered.” But I'm having trouble with that. I'm having a hard time letting go of how things were for so long. Am I scared of having a purpose to get out of bed every day? Have I lived with this monster for so long that I have grown accustomed to its characteristics, familiar even? Did I like myself more when I was sick? I don't know.

Everyone goes through periods when life just sucks. Take my dad, for example. Now, we're not all that close, but I know he's had a few rough patches. He was with this girl for a long time when he was young. They were engaged and, I think, happy. But, something happened, and they broke up. I'm not sure who initiated it, but my dad was crushed, I guess. He had to do the whole therapy scene for a while. Then things got better. A few years ago he got laid off from his job. He didn't have a college degree, and the job market tanked. He probably thought he was washed up because I know that's what I was thinking for the nine months he was unemployed. But, of course, things turned out okay.

I think what I'm trying to get at is, we all have tough times. But what I am starting to realize, after examining these patterns of hardship, amazes me. We break up, we get our souls shattered, we lose hope, we fall down, and it feels like life will suck forever. But I've learned that “forever” doesn't exist. I've realized that nothing can go on perpetually. Everything is temporary. We are all temporary. Our experiences are temporary. And I think that is the beauty of it all.

When I started taking an antidepressant last fall, it felt as though the pill popping was going to be endless. I was sure I would hate myself and my life forever. It was that way for a long time, but not anymore.

I can't really take myself seriously when I say this, but I'm going to say it anyway: There is a light at the end of every tunnel. You can get on the interstate of deadly despair and go pedal to the metal, but eventually you'll get to the end and be forced to take the exit to ecstasy. I'm not sure what sort of force makes life work this way, but I'm thankful it does.

It's hard to let go of something I've lived with for so long. My depression is kind of like a bad roommate: it eventually sort of grew on me. Now it's packing up and slowly vacating my soul. It's a strange feeling.

I'm learning new things about myself every day. I'm trying to figure out who I really am after such a long time of thinking that my disorder was who I was. Sometimes I don't like myself. At times I wish my depression were still here to make me that dark, mysterious girl sitting in the corner who writes emotional poetry and dresses in black. But it's time to say good-bye to this beast. I'm ready. I know it's going to take more time. But I'll have to be patient and wait for it to move along.

Maybe I am “better.” Maybe it is over. Maybe the storm has passed. And if not, I know it's close to being gone. I can feel it in my soul. Every limb, organ, and molecule of myself is being cleaned out. Sometimes I compare depression and mental illness to cancer. It feels like all these little tumors inside me are self-destructing and giving me back my body.

Every breath is more open. Every touch is more real. Every day is more a gift than a punishment. My life is a constant tug-of-war between happy and sad. Up until a month or so ago, the sadness was winning. But now the happiness is slowly gaining ground. There is a slow shift in my day-to-day thoughts and emotions. Everything is almost, dare I say it, easier. My joints have been oiled and my tank has been filled with gas. I am a new and improved machine.

You see, in a world where nothing is completely flawless, you have to look for the little things. There's happiness out there. Trust me, I know what it feels like to go through impossible days and lose all faith in yourself and your life, but you have to believe. You have to stay strong. That's how you dig yourself out of a hole. That's how you take an ugly, revolting disease and turn it into something that fulfills your character and makes you a better person. Something that changes you in a way that you didn't know was possible and makes you appreciate the wonder and beauty of happiness.

And I know, with all my being, that it is all totally worth it in the end.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

ellabella said...
Dec. 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm:
This was such an amazing article. It gave me a new perspective on some things. I want to thank you for that.
 
emilyann624This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 26, 2011 at 10:07 am :
Thank you so much for you comment. I'm so glad that this piece connects with other people because it means so much to me, and that emotional connection was what I was really going for.
 
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