In January, after a long and increasingly challenging six months, Kyle went to the doctor and was diagnosed with depression. The doctor made some suggestions, and we talked about it.
It was hard, it was scary. The depression was affecting his daily life and his capacity to work. But slowly, time passed. And now we’re almost four months out from that doctor’s appointment. We made some changes to his daily routine, he started medication, and I started therapy in no small part to find out what I could do to help him out (due to insurance headaches we’re in a holding pattern in regards to whether or not he can do the same). Kyle and I were able to accomplish some tasks that couldn’t be ignored, but whose importance and incompleteness were adding to the problem.
Then there are the things that we couldn’t control. His classes aren’t as stressful this semester. Ruby is sleeping better. Spring started, we had warm days and sun after a long, cold, dark winter.
There’s no point at which things magically got better. There’s no “aha!” moment, just things gradually change. There are some good days. Then there are more good days.
The author of another blog I follow is staring down the other end of that diagnostic tunnel. The beginning side. The scary side. And while I feel deeply for this author, it also made me realize just how far Kyle has come, how much change has happened.
He’s much happier. There are so many more good days now than bad days. Even in the uncertainty and increasing urgency of the job search, he is happier. His capacity to accomplish things has grown immensely. If he had been searching for a job six months ago, he would have been simply unable to do it with the same dedication and work ethic that he is putting in now.
Mental illness is challenging. Kyle and I are fortunate to experience it in ways that are pretty treatable and manageable. Change is slow, but it comes. The quality of life improves as we pay attention to what is wrong and address it. And all of a sudden, you find that you’re on the other end of the tunnel. The better end. The hopeful end.
And I like being on this end.