When Labels Heal
Last year, I was diagnosed with depression. When my therapist said those words, I was a little shocked. I wasn’t depressed. I was just a little sad. Afterall, how could I be depressed? I live such a privileged life. I have a job and am able to provide for my family. I have a healthy husband and healthy children. I have a supportive and loving extended family. How could I be depressed? There is nothing wrong with my life.
But as we talked through it, I realized that at times I was overwhelmed by intense sadness. Times when the sadness felt too difficult to overcome. It was such a thorough part of my existence, I couldn’t see the difference between me and the sorrow.
When I finally accepted the new label, the weight already began to lift. Naming it became a medicine all its own. It was no longer foreign. Instead it now has a shape. I can see it, I can take it apart piece by piece, and I can learn to adapt and overcome.
It also makes other depressive episodes more manageable. When those come around, I can see them for what they are: temporary.
With this new year, I hope we all can all figure out what labels can be helpful, ignore the ones that aren’t, and continue to learn to love and heal ourselves.