I wondered when this day would come, the day I can’t remember a former version of myself. I’ve long been curious if I could forget, or if my struggles with anxiety and depression would be an eternal storm cloud hovering in the distance.
I had almost forgotten about the time in my life when I was angry and agitated every day. I had almost forgotten how much I cried. I had almost forgotten about the time I wandered the stacks at the library for 20 minutes before realizing I was not mentally able to choose a book. I had almost forgotten how overrun I was with irrational thoughts and worries and unlikely scenarios. I had almost forgotten the dread and worry that enveloped me as I drove home from work every day.
I had almost forgotten how much I wished for death to befall me in some way. Those were my darkest days when, despite all of my sadness and worry, I was completely confident that the world would still turn without me. I never sought out death, just hoped it would come to me swiftly. It’s hard to imagine now.
It’s hard to imagine anything good could come from that time in my life.
As I was having difficulty conjuring up the memories of my depression and anxiety, I had to ask myself if I wanted to remember it all. Would forgetting be preferable, considering the situation?
No matter how bad I felt then, no matter how horrible I was to myself and to others, no matter how much worry plagued me every hour of every day, I have to remember because I overcame. I was lucky enough to overcome.
I have a journey that shows the endurance of spirit. When on the cusp of letting depression and anxiety take over completely, I was able to take a tiny step, and I called the clinic. On the day of the appointment, I was able to take another tiny step, and I made myself go. Minute by minute, hour by hour, I took one tiny step after another and I faced the stigma, I endured the medication’s lengthy list of side effects, I became accustomed to little white ball and chain I take at 5:30 PM every day, and I rode the emotional roller coaster for months and months until the correct dosage was achieved.
Then one day I looked around and realized I was enjoying smooth sailing on calm seas. But I was forgetting, too.
Forgetting that I was capable of such an amazing feat. Forgetting that the bad shapes us in ways that the good can’t. Forgetting that all I had was a mustard seed of strength to get me started.
I share my journey so candidly because no matter how alone I felt, I knew in my heart of hearts that I was not alone. I craved the testimony of others to get me through. I needed others’ stories to help me make my own. No one should endure anxiety and depression alone, and I will openly share my story of hope for the rest of my life if I can help even a single person take that first tiny step out of the darkness.
So, no, I’m not ready to forget just yet.