young girl in field with sunrise

A Letter To My Younger Self, On The Anniversary Of My Depression Diagnosis

By Kimberly Zapata

Dear Kim,

I don’t know why I’ve never written to you before. Maybe it is because what’s done is done. Because the past is unchangeable. And because your disease — your depression — is incurable. Or maybe it is because writing to you means writing to myself. Means believing in myself. Means I must love myself. But regardless of the reason, I’ve never written to you; I’ve never even spoken to you. I’ve never tried to say or do anything, because nothing I say can protect you from the isolation. From the anger, the sadness, and the pain. And for that I feel helpless.

I want to protect you — 17 years later, I still want to “save you.” Yet just because I cannot save you, doesn’t mean I cannot help you. It doesn’t mean I cannot make you feel less alone.

You see, it isn’t all bad. Today is the day you learn you aren’t crazy. Today is the day you learn there is a reason for your sadness, your anger, and your racing thoughts. Today is the day you learn there is something behind the endless tears, and all of your senseless and seemingly ungrounded fears. Today is the first time in a long time you will be able to stop — truly stop — and take a breath, and today you will feel acknowledged and heard.

Today, you realize you are OK, and that you will be OK… at least until you sit back and digest your diagnosis: depression. At least until you stop and consider what “it” means — that you are sick; you have a mental illness.

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