Letter to my Young Friend

My beloved friend,

I was very happy to see you last week-end for your birthday – but I was so sad to see that you’re struggling with depression and anxiety again. I was sad, and I was reminded of myself many years ago. I know this feeling so well; the feeling that we are aware of our problems, that we struggle hard to keep them down and struggle even harder to have a life that comes close to what is considered normal.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I would like to encourage you not to accept this state of mind, not to arrange with life that is not the life that you deserve, that is less than a half lived life.

At some point, when I had felt for the longest time like I was only functioning but not living, I decided to seek professional help. Finally I accepted the defeat that I would not be able to get rid of the pieces of rocks in my body and brain without someone helping me; those pieces of rocks that were slowing me down until I couldn’t move any more and that hole in my brain that just swallowed sentences, words and ideas. It is a terrible defeat, especially for us who are capable of so much. But I just didn’t want to go on like that. Somewhere buried deep down there was a vague feeling that there could be a better life and that I wanted it. Now. The other feeling was: fear. I was scared to to lose control even more than I already had.

I was lucky insofar that I found a therapist fairly quickly, a middle-aged woman, calm and wise, compassionate but distant at the same time. This is the most crucial part besides the confession that depression and anxiety has taken complete control of you, finding a therapist whom you trust. Trust in the therapist is absolutely essential for working with her or him. (In case you stumbled across the word “work” in this context – that’s the word I heard my therapist use once in a while and I think it’s right. It is hard work to get rid of mental problems even though on first sight the whole thing seems to be only about talking). Pretty soon you get to the point where – among other things – you have to accept some unpleasant facts about your life, your history and the people around you and you’re dependent on a therapist who can guide you through it.

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And there is the sadness – the sadness that I saw in you when we met the last time. You know, I think one of the reasons for depression is tears that we do not cry. Tears that we do not cry because we buried the corresponding feelings so deeply that we do not even know that they’re there.

For me, it took three years and looking back I tell you it’s worth all the trouble, it’s worth all the tears and pain. Once you’re through all the sadness, you have a new life. A new life that feels warm and weightless and you’re the strongest person that you can think of. Sounds pathetic and trashy, doesn’t it? But that’s indeed how I felt once I had stopped seeing my therapist. What is more, you’ll be able to handle whatever challenge your new life may keep ready for you, even if it’s a relapse. More than once I was frightening close to or even right in a severe crisis. But it has never been as bad as it used to be before I had undergone therapy.

My beloved friend, I so very much wish for you that you will find your way out of your problems. I so very much wish for you that soon your life will no longer be loaded with this terrible trouble of the mind. If there’s anything I can do for you in the meantime, I’ll be there, I hope you know.

All my love,

your Aunt P.

(Written as a contribute to the Zero-to-Hero Challenge, Day 3 – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/zero-to-hero/).

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