I’ve been the saddest happy person I know for as long as I can remember. At heart I am the same rainbow-loving optimist you see on my Instagram (@healthybunhead), but I’ve struggled with depression for ten years.
It started when I was fifteen. At the time we treated my “sadness” as a hormonal imbalance, but as I got older, the sadness clung on to me and grew deeper. It ebbed and flowed. Life would be good for a couple of weeks and then the sadness would hit me like a freight train. It took control, both physically and emotionally. I lost interest in my favorite things. I stopped talking to my friends. I slept all the time. I felt so confused and helpless. I was living the life I always dreamed of. I had an incredible support system. I wanted for nothing. Why was I so miserable?
I thought for sure I was the only person on earth so flawed and damaged. I called my mom to ask her why I was so broken. She instantly booked me a trip home and a doctor’s appointment. (My mom is my hero.) Within a month I was diagnosed with depression.
To some, this may feel like a death sentence, but I have never been more liberated. My sadness had a name! A treatment plan! A community of hundreds of thousands of others feeling the same way I did! I was flawed, but I was not broken. I could breathe again.
For years I lived with the incredible guilt from the pressure to be happy because I was (and continue to be) so blessed. But as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t maintain a steady state of joy. I thought it was my fault, but that was far from the truth. Depression is a physical illness that was just placed in my cards at birth. You can’t prevent it, and above all else, depression is not your fault.
I have learned to live with both the happy and sad parts of me. They are both valid and important. I will always have bad days, no matter how perfect life is. But my diagnosis set me free, for never again will I blame myself for something that is out of my control.
Depression is a part of me, but it is not who I am. I am a sparkling, smiling unicorn that lives in a magical city with one million and one things to be grateful for. I still get sad sometimes, and I celebrate that sadness is okay. 😊