an open letter
On this Friday the 13th, I want you to remember one thing:
Statistically, you will feel better.
I know it’s a weird thing to say when talking about depression. When talking about suicide. It’s the kind of thing people will tell you and you’ll smile, and nod, if you still can, and you’ll ignore them. It sounds trite. Impossible. Well, humor a nerdy psych major for a moment.
That’s right, psych major. That doesn’t mean I have all the secrets. That means that when I was depressed, the cry-every-day kind, I knew what was going on. I knew I had the symptoms. I knew the average length of a depressive episode. And I knew that I would probably have one again. Most of all, I knew all the things I should (and I use that word in the most glib sense) be doing. Get regular sleep. Go out and do fun things. Eat regularly.
Ha. Ha ha ha. Knowing what I should do didn’t make it any easier to get out of bed. Or eat regular meals. Or stay asleep for longer than four hours. And I wasn’t even down in the darkest of it. Wretched as I felt, I never wanted to kill myself. Never wanted to be dead, passively, to fade away like something already gone.
So how can I say, “You will feel better”? Because I know it’s true. Statistically. Maybe it’s silly, but it kept me going during the lowest point in my life. Nothing stays stable forever. No matter how low you are, you will have to regress to the mean, bounce back to average. Not in a day. Not in a week. But maybe in a month, or a couple of months. You have to, because just as happiness fades to sadness, sadness must fade back. Math doesn’t lie.
I told you it sounded silly. Wait? Do nothing? Expect to get better? Of course not. Rage. Tear pages from your journal. Run until your legs give out. Sleep and cry. Try medication or therapy and do those things we know can speed up recovery. But always, always remember that nothing lasts forever.
Not even misery.
And whoever you are, I love you, I hope for you, and I pray to something unknown that you find your own hope. You cannot be replaced. Statistically, you are unique. And you deserve to find contentment. Even if it takes a while.