You see, I’d like to think I know myself pretty well. I majored in psychology, so I know how humans work, and I have a basic knowledge of mental health. I’ve taken many online personality tests, and I invest a lot of money to learn more about myself and then process what I learn. At this point, I’m rarely surprised by something I learn about myself.
So when I was sitting in my counselor’s office, complaining, I wasn’t expecting to be surprised. I was talking about how I’m incredibly, almost unbearably, tired despite the fact that I’m doing everything right. I’m not eating sugar, I’m exercising, I’m taking lots of emotional and mental space, and I’m saying no to things that will cost more than I have to give.
My counselor nodded as my whining spun down to a stop.
“Well, Ashleyne,” she said casually, crossing one leg over the other, “since you have Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, it makes sense that…”
I have no idea what she said after that.
See, for almost two years now, I’ve been telling everyone and their pet gerbil that I’m depressed. I took the whole “speak the truth and the truth will set you free” thing to heart. I know I’m depressed. But in this whole process, no one (not my doctor, not either of my counselors, not my psychiatrist, not my masters-degree-holding roommates, not my stuffed orangutan) has said the word “Disorder” out loud while looking at me.
Longterm, it doesn’t really change anything. I’m not ashamed, or afraid, and I don’t think I’m crazy. I will continue to deal with my depression the same ways I have been.
But it did surprise me. This is a thing. I have a disorder. It’s not just that I don’t know how to handle my shit, which is what I’ve been thinking for quite a while now.
There’s actually something broken. Out of order. Misplaced. A recurring problem that doesn’t have a simple solution. And it has a name.
I tuned back in as my counselor said, “…which tells us that it really is a chemical problem and we can work with that.”
Huh. Okay. We can work with that.
I have a label. Alright. I can work with that.
So it’s still true: Speak the truth, for the truth can set you free.
I know myself a little better now. Serves me right for thinking I was done learning.