This last time I was struggling through a depression cycle of my bipolar, I had these made for me. I needed a way to remind my self constantly of hope. Hope is the strongest thing to have when you are in the throws of depression. Yet it is the hardest thing to keep. At least for me is feels like trying keep a wave on the ocean shore. Impossible. When I am depressed I feel that there is no way I can make it one more day, just the thought of living through the emptiness for another 24 hours is unbearable. So I wear these bracelets. The “hope” one reminds me to-
Hold On Pain Ends.
The feather goes along with that. It reminds me of two things. One, that I will one day be free from this depression. It traps me in its cage for a time. Sometimes weeks, sometimes months. But I always am freed from it. Eventually the cage door opens and it feels unbelievable to spread my wings and fly away from it. The other thing the feather reminds me of is the mythological bird, the Phoenix. Out of it’s ashes the Phoenix is reborn, and every time stronger than the last. Every time I make it through a depressive episode, I know I come out the other side stronger for it.
We have all heard the stigma against those who suffer from depression, it is nothing new. But the reality of it is, that no one can understand how it feels without experiencing it. There are really no words. You can try describing it with sadness, emptiness, pain, heaviness, hopelessness… but even those do not really describe the depth of the blackness.
I feel lucky right now. I don’t take for granted the minutes, hours and days that I feel good. I think that may be one beautiful thing about going through depression time after time… I have learned never take the good moments for granted. In the past when I would recover from a depressive episode, I would instantly start worrying about when the next one would come. This made even my good days full of anxiety and misery. I am learning how to just be in moment. Enjoy the sunshine, or the rain, on the good days. Spending this time doing the things that make me happy and with the people who make me laugh and smile. Making sure I take time out from everything to just sit on my back porch feeling the happiness that is inside me. I use to feel guilty for doing this, feeling like I had so much to do, to make up for from the time when I was out of order from the depression… but I have learned that enjoying the life you have, naming the things in your life you are grateful for, is a spiritual lift for your soul.
If you are struggling right now.. just know you are not alone. There are others out here who know what you are feeling… how hard it feels to even getting through the next five minutes. You aren’t alone. Reach out; there are people in your life who care, you are not a burden. If there is no one there physically with you, then there people like me, here. Just remember that when your mind tells you to give up, find that small quiet voice that is inside you that whispers “try one more time”
… that is hope.