When Depression Comes in Waves

By Elizabeth WilderDecember 15, 2016

This month, we’re looking back on the top 10 blog posts of 2016. This post was originally published on August 8. 

Last June I went to the ocean, a place usually filled with peace for me. But last June was different. I felt nothing. They say that depression can make you lose interest in things you once loved. And as I walked alongside the shore with my feet in the water, I knew. I knew that depression had engulfed me like an unforgiving wave. I couldn’t deny it. I couldn’t ignore it. Depression was knocking me down relentlessly, trying to drown me over and over again.

Day after day I attempted to extract myself from this grip depression had on me, but just like how the ocean comes back to the shore, I could not let go of this continuous and exhausting cycle. Depression convinced me I didn’t deserve to be happy, that I didn’t deserve to feel like I had purpose. And I believed it. I let it take over me.

As distressing as it sounds, depression becomes comfortable after a while. It becomes safe. You adapt to the feelings of emptiness and nothingness; they become your new friends. In the darkest throes of my depression, I didn’t believe there was an end in sight. I believed I would feel like this forever. I got so used to it that I even started to question myself.

Is it really THAT bad?

Am I actually depressed? 

Am I actually drowning?

Eventually those questions started to eat away at me. I gave up. I cried. I screamed. I caved into myself. I wanted to be swept away by the waves. I felt shame and I felt guilt and I wanted those feelings to end once and for all. There was a minute I began losing sight of shore, a minute I thought I couldn’t bear it anymore.

But another minute later, I resurfaced, gasping for air.

All it takes is another minute.

When I realized I couldn’t tread water on my own anymore, I reached out. And when I did, my best friend extended a hand and helped save my life. One simple text and he was by my side, letting me cry into his shoulder and asking the tough questions and listening to the difficult answers I had never spoken to anyone before.

I allowed myself to express feelings of darkness without guilt or shame. I began to realize that I deserved love and to love, to live a life of purpose. I could tell he was scared when he left me that night, scared that the ocean was going to claim me as its own. But in that moment I knew I couldn’t let it, whether I wanted it to or not. I had countless days ahead of me, days of pain but also of joy.

Last August I returned to the ocean with him. A summer had passed. It was a summer full of being open and honest about my depression with my friends and family. A summer filled with ups and downs, happy and sad moments alike. A summer of transformation. I ran to the shore with reckless abandon, letting the waves splash against my legs. I felt excited; I felt alive. I felt reconnected to the ocean, the warm salty air feeling like a friend once again.

I am not in denial: I know there are still waves to come. Good and bad. Waves I’ll want to jump over, to conquer. And others I’ll want to float under, to disappear. A wave when I drink a little more than I know I should. A wave when I step into therapy for the first time. A wave when the seas get rough and dark again.  A wave when I realize the overwhelming support I have now. A wave when I tell myself over and over again all it takes is another minute. Another minute to fall out of love and back in love with the sand and sea breeze.

If you start to feel like you’re trapped in depression’s current, keep an eye on the shore. Remember that there is always a way back. And when a wave knocks you down, hold on. All it takes is another minute.

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Comments (14)

  1. Britni

    With tears falling down my face, I am writing this to thank you. You described it perfectly.

    All it takes is one more minute <3

    Reply  |  
  2. Heidi

    I needed to read this today, I’m so overwhelmed I feel like I could easily drown in the ocean of my depression.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Heidi. Are hearts are heavy to hear that you feel this way, but you need to know that it’s okay to feel this way. You need to know that you’re not alone. We’re so glad that our words found resonance with you, and we hope that resonance brings you courage during your fight. We want you to know that we’re with you. You’re not alone, Heidi. If we could, we would like to talk more about this and offer you some encouragement. If you’re comfortable, please email [email protected] and we can talk more there. Thank you, Heidi. Thank you for sharing your courage and strength with us, and for honoring us by inviting us into your story. Hope is real.

      Reply  |  
  3. Dani

    I needed so much to read this, I feel that I am already at the point of not being able to read this and it makes me think of another minute where everything is not gray, thank you u-u

    Reply  |  
  4. Alanny.

    Today I feel exactly like I can let the ocean takes me far, so far away.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Alanny, our hearts are so heavy to hear that you’re struggling. We want you to know that it’s okay to feel how you’re feeling. It’s okay to be carrying this heaviness with you. But we also want you to know that it’s okay to get help. It’s okay to lean on others and walk towards hope. We believe in you, Alanny, and we believe you have so much value. Even saying this here, saying that you’re struggling out loud, is a huge sign of courage and strength. We’re here for you, and we believe in you. We’re on your side. If you’d feel comfortable, we’d like to talk more and offer you some encouragement. Please email us at [email protected]

      Reply  |  
  5. Jasmin

    I’m headed to shore. I am headed to shore. I have been asleep on a boat for 4 years now. A boat that felt so comforting, so I laid there in fettle position not wanting to ever wake up again. The storms started rolling over and the lightning started to stoke, but I still clung to that boat. Only did I get up when the lightning strike me full on, and my family, and friends screamed at me to wake up, begged me, and pleaded with me, saying “I can not take another suicide attempt.”, “Not another concerned call from school.”, Only then did I let reality sink in, because then… That was my time. I started to slowly rise from the boat, and I saw the other side. I saw shore, only meet feet’s away from me, and realized that this boat made it feel countries away, that this boat was slowly making me roat, and I could not sit here. I acknowledged the fact that I was meant to be alive, that I was meant to be here. So just a couple weeks ago, after I cried on the sidewalk by quicktrip, threatening to throw myself into a busy intersection, I went to my best friend’s house and I cried. Together we jumped off that boat and helped me swim some of the way. A couple days ago I started taking anti depressants, another inch to swim. I’m going to an open therapy circle for kids my age who deal, and have dealt with the same issues. Another inch to swim. But I know after all my hard work, after I put my toes into the sand for the first time in 4 years before the waves, and boat called my name, I can look at all I’ve swam through, and truly live again. I will always find my way back to the waves, and off shore, and maybe back onto the boat again, but I will make it to where I will always swim to shore. So I just wanted to finally say… To anyone reading this, to my former self, to my depression, to my friends, and to the people who are waiting for me on shore; “I’m headed to shore.” And what a bliss it is to say that.

    Reply  |  
  6. Cassie

    I have always been in denial about my depression. The past few weeks I have started to accept it. And you described it exactly how I feel. Drowning. But this post has showed me that I don’t have to drown if I just take one more minute. Thank you so much for showing me it’s possible to overcome and I’m looking forward to hopefully finding joy again.

    Reply  |  
  7. Madalena

    There are days that I feel the world would be better without my presence. I do not have the strength to react, and I wonder, why does this pain, me pecegue, and me take the breath

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Madalena, our hearts break to hear that you’ve been feeling so heavy. First and foremost, please know that the world would absolutely not be the same if you weren’t here. Your presence is valuable, and you reaching out, you being open and honest, is a sign of strength. If we can, we would like to offer you some encouragement and talk with you more. If you’re comfortable with it, please email us at [email protected]

      Reply  |  
  8. Marcie

    Wow! I don’t even know what to say other than WOW. This is exactly how I feel and have been feeling for the past few months. Unfortunately, I am in such despair I want the ocean to take me away 🙁 Thank you for this beautiful writing.

    Reply  |  
  9. Natalie

    After reading this, I took the first step to recovery and saw my doctor about going to a therapist… Today, I had hit a low. It was the first time that I truly felt that the water was going to consume me. I was drowning and instead of hurting myself, something I promised I would give up in 2017, I came to this site, to this blog post. This post was initially posted on my birthday, August 8. This blog post might have done more for me than the author will ever know. Thank you for putting the feelings I can’t even explain myself into the most wonderful metaphor. Thank you for reminding me that all it takes is another minute.

    Reply  |  
  10. Melia

    This is the strongest current that has ever taken hold. This is such an accurate description, being toppled by the waves and you completely lose sight of not only the shore, but which way is up. One more minute feels desperately hard, when you’ve held your breath for so long already. Thank goodness for organizations like this and friends who watch over us.

    Reply  |  
  11. Taylor Anne

    This has helped me. I have had depression for a while and this made me think. Thanks

    Reply  |  
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