Identity. I used to wonder whether my depression was who I was. It hit when I was 13. I had no understanding of it. It was an invisible disease weaving it's way through my thoughts, knocking away the good ones and leaving the destructive ones in its wake. I didn't know any better.
It had taken a few years before it got a label and an attempt at treatment. But it was an everyday occurrence, from when I awoke to when I went to bed. As far as I knew, this was normal. This was me.
However, like with any other chronic disease, there were good days and bad days (weeks). Those brief moments of clarity allowed me to separate the parts of me that were not infected. It took a long time to realize that my disease did not define me. It was something that afflicts me.
I went through many therapists until I found one that got me and laughed at my jokes (because that's important too). I made a couple of friends that really understood what it was like. That helped. But it'll never go away. It's something that I will have to fight for the rest of my life. So I sit here and write these words. They offer a safe place--a haven.