Adapting to depression

As we sit down for coffee, I think about how I must look as I'm talking with a pink-haired, nose-pierced girl who seems to have a million opinions. To be honest with you, I never thought that I would be friends with someone who is seemingly so different than me.

As we start talking, the words seem to transform into colors on a canvas. I struggle to find the best way to describe the conversations being had, but the only word that comes to mind is 'different'. Over the smell of coffee and the lively buzz of the people around me, I tune in to hear her speak with eloquent words that begin forming distinct ideas. She explains..

I don’t know if I have a specific example of a failure with anxiety. That question reminds me of a tumblr post: “A struggle with depression’ would almost seem to imply that i am bad at depression when i am, in fact, very proficient at being depressed.” No, in all honesty, I don’t believe you can really “fail” with anxiety; If anything, the way I’ve gone about seeking treatment, or lack of, could be considered a “failure”.

Depression made me angry, bitter, and it hardened my heart. Anxiety, at its worst, turned every situation into a life or death moment and that isn’t an exaggeration. After many sleepless nights and days of hating myself, I realized that I needed to seek help. I was only able to do so with the help of those that love me. Through vulnerable conversations, tears, and heartache, I was able to begin tearing down this layer of darkness that prevented me from feeling joy and truly, love. I finally went to counseling and worked through the cause of my mental illnesses. For years, I lived with this guilt and shame surrounding my sexual assault, which had turned me into a victim and really a shell of myself.

My counselor simply told me that I was a survivor, who was strong, not weak. She helped me realize that I was enough. That I am enough. That I am worthy. I’m lovable. I am strong. Repeating these phrases daily is how I deal with mental illness (also counseling). But it’s still hard, it will never disappear completely, I must adapt every day. "

Through Heidi, I've realized it's not that the failures, weaknesses, and valleys in our lives that diminish as we age, but that we better know how to handle the pain. Yet, this can only happen with a habitual effort of reflection. Hearing Heidi's story at a small coffee shop at a college I do not attend, I am reminded about the beauty of sincerely believing that "I am Enough".