There are a lot things they don’t tell you when you stopped being depressed.

No one ever tells you what happens when you suddenly find yourself in recovery from a decades-long depression. Recovery. That’s not the right word. I want to say remission. Am I allowed to use that word?

Anyway, no one tells you what’s going to happen. When you’re in the throws of said decades-long depression, you just figure that when it’s over, you’ll either be dead or happy. And happy just sounds so wonderful and easy.

Don’t get me wrong. It is.

But there’s also a lot of other weird shit you get to wade through.

1. Your relationship with food is about to change. I suddenly can’t eat the absurd amounts of sugar I used to. I feel betrayed by all my favorites. I purchased a chocolate milkshake from a local shop last week. Normally I can eat mine and finish off someone else’s. This time? Got halfway through and thought I was going to vomit from sugar overload. The other day, I ate two bites of cake and felt that was plenty. The food that used to soothe me no longer does.

2. The fear of relapse is real. I find myself at random times assessing myself for signs I’m depressed again. I check on my mood. Check on how my body physically feels. Try to anticipate things that might pitch me over that cliff again. Why? Because I’m terrified. I’m terrified this isn’t real. That I’ll get swallowed by depression again. That maybe this is all a lie. Somehow I’ve convinced myself I’m not depressed, but I actually am, and that reality is going to come crashing in again.

3. All the things that used to be hard are now easy, but what does that even mean??? I’m used to things being hard, especially initiation. I have a doozy of a ADHD diagnosis to deal with always, anyway. When I was depressed, nothing got started, and if it did somehow get started, it never got finished. Now, when I decide to do something, I, uh, just do it. It’s easy. Too easy. And I’m not sure how that’s supposed to put the last eighteen years of my life into context. How am I supposed to contend with all the things I could have accomplished were it not for the sense of foreboding that kept me paralyzed? What does that say about the things I did accomplish? Is the book I wrote more worthy now? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

4. There are no scripts in our culture to help anyone navigate this, including you. I beat my depression. And I don’t know how to talk about it with anyone, even though I really want to talk about it with everyone. I did the impossible. I beat the odds. Any time I have brought it up, it gets promptly ignored in 90% of all conversations. People don’t know how to respond. This just isn’t part of something we as society have decided to deal with. And that sucks. It’s also possibly why the symptoms of this disease are easily ignored, and the amount of victim-blaming surrounding it is absurd.

5. Your brain doesn’t know what to do with all the extra space it used to use contemplating your own demise. Seriously. What is my brain supposed to do now? If it’s not telling me to kill myself, what is it supposed to do?

6. The anxiety sure is still here! It’s more manageable, sure, but it’s still here. I’m still worried about putting this post out into the world. It feels like a lot of navel-gazing. It is a lot of navel-gazing. And there’s a whole lot of bad shit going on in the world. Someone will call me out. Someone should call me out. But this still feels important. Important to me, and therefore it might be important to someone else.

Also, on an ending note, finding yourself no longer depressed in the Trump Era sure is a trip. Sometimes it feels like my depression left my body to infect the whole world. There are times the world-at-large feels like how my internal-life once felt. And it’s especially weird to say “And I feel great!” in the middle of all of it.

Strange times.

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