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Does everyone else have their life mapped out?

This is not a story I share with many people, mainly because I am ashamed to; depression is not an illness that is widely understood by society as a whole.

The stigma of depression is that you are ‘sad’, but depression is far more debilitating that sadness, depression is feeling nothing at all, an inability to construct a future for yourself. It leaves you permanently stationary in time unable to move forwards. This inability to plan the future made my depression spiral out of control in the last 6 months, as a young person just leaving school the future is all anyone can talk about, there’s an excitement and anticipation of uni, independence, your career.

For me there was little excitement. After battling waves of severe depression over the last 3 years, talk of my future was utterly terrifying. I had no vision of my life beyond school, I found it impossible to make long-term plans and goals and at my lowest I saw this inability to visualise a future as a sign I wasn’t meant to have one.

However here I am, 2 months in to my first semester at university. I am not ‘cured’, I still struggle everyday, but I am here. The main part of recovery for me is learning to overpower the part of me that wants to give in to my depression. I have the support of people around me who understand me more than I do myself sometimes. Opening up to people was the hardest thing I ever had to do and I am so grateful I had the courage to do it. I waited 2 years before I could communicate how I was feeling and the relief was indescribable. Many times it was the oddest assortment of people I decided to open up to but at that time they were the people I trusted and cared about and I still do. Their help has been unbelievable and I don’t think they will ever fully understand how much it meant to me.

Snapping out of the ‘depression box’ is easier said than done. I’m still recovering, it’s a slow process and its not always positive but it gets easier to cope and live with my depression. I will never ‘love’ my mental illness and it is something I wish every day I could live without but to those who see no way out of depression it does get better, it does get easier and it is not forever.

As for my future I’ve come to realise not everyone has their life mapped out and that doesn’t make me a failure, it makes me normal. I try to enjoy the good days and embrace the bad ones as experience. I may not know exactly what my future holds but my biggest step was being able to see one for myself.

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