I sometimes feel like my heart is cracked wide open and spilling onto the floor. I feel like it’s not thumping right, like it skips every other beat, like it’s bent and broken.
Broken. I feel broken, like my brain is wired wrong and that’s what’s causing these issues. I fear that there is something innately wrong with me, something that’s causing me to be depressed and lose the light.
Depression causes a lot of hurt, but I think the worst thing it does is trick your mind into believing your own brokenness, your own worthlessness. I don’t know how many nights I’ve spent crying not so much because of how sad or hopeless I was, but because I believed the lie that I am wrong, or that I made some mistake in my past that led to this.
What if I brought this on myself? What if depression is my punishment for not being good enough, for thinking bad thoughts or not being happy enough with my life?
I mean, growing up, I used to wish for something bad to happen, some “adventure” or “big thing” that would make my story worth telling. Did I wish depression on myself?
The truth is…I didn’t. The truth is, my depression isn’t a matter of the heart. It’s a matter of the mind.
The truth is, my depression isn’t a matter of the heart. It’s a matter of the mind.
There are chemicals gone awry in my brain, synapses that don’t function properly or something like that. I don’t know all the details or the medical terms, but I know that depression, in my case and that of many others, comes not from a spiritual brokenness but a mental dysfunction.
I check the “Yes, I’m disabled” box on job applications because under potential disabilities, they list “major depression.” I’ve come to terms with that. I face limitations because of my depression. I had to give up the chance to apply to take a trip to Europe next summer to study journalism ethics because my professor thought Auschwitz and depression wouldn’t mix well. I’ve lost friendships, been hospitalized, and missed out on countless fun social opportunities because of my depression.
It affects most aspects of my life, from my academic performance to my friendships to my thoughts about the future.
It’s a big thing.
But it doesn’t make me broken. It doesn’t make me less. I am just as whole and together as someone who isn’t depressed.
We all have struggles, hurdles to overcome as we walk through life. For some of us it’s physical issues, for others mental. For some it’s a temptation we struggle to overcome, a dream we can’t seem to achieve, a heartbreak we just can’t get over.
Life isn’t easy, for anyone. I don’t say that to be discouraging, just to tell the truth. We face hardships, complications. Things don’t go our way. But are we broken?
Depression does not break. It bends and sometimes it cracks, it splinters, spiderwebs forming across the surface of our hearts, but it does not break.
Maybe depression teaches us to be more flexible, to learn to twist and turn with the winds that batter us, but it does not break us.
Part of how I know I’m not broken is my faith. I believe that God keeps me whole, no matter what I face. I’ve come face-to-face with darkness and somehow survived. I have bent. I have twisted and turned, and I have survived.
There’s no reason you can’t survive as well. Depression might seem like a hopeless, dark pit you’re sinking into, but there is a light, a hope. There is a chance for survival. I hope you’ll take it. It’s worth your life.
Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Here writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com.
If you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm, there is hope. You can call 1-800-273-TALK to chat with someone about it. For a list of other resources, visit the website of To Write Love on Her Arms here.