The Day I Learned to Forgive Myself

venice beach

Do you remember the day you learned to forgive yourself, to accept yourself?

I do. It was today.

As I sat on my psychiatrist’s couch attempting to suppress my sneezes from a nasty sinus infection, I rattled off my usual litany of random questions. She is a wise and brilliant woman (I look forward to our sessions, is that weird? I promise it’s not just because she holds a prescription pad…) who knows and understands me well after the four and a half years I’ve been seeing her, so I trust her insights implicitly.

While discussing the smaller episodes I tend to think are setting me back further, she used the phrase “in recovery,” and it changed everything.

As much as I preach—and do believe—that there shouldn’t be stigma in taking psych meds, in dealing with mental illness, I realized today I didn’t apply those same standards to myself.

I’m crazy, I’m weak, what is this woman thinking about me when I walk out, am I crazier than her other patients? Why do I need so much medication just to get through life? 

Walking up Lexington back to the subway, I finally internalized this: depression is a real condition, and my doctor is treating me for it and treating me as such. It’s something I’ve dealt with since before my mom got sick. I’ve had a shitty past few years, but I am healing and recovering, bit by bit.

As I wrote in my Women’s Health article, I’ve heard depression described as emotional cancer—it may go into remission but never go away. Even if I relapse—which I certainly have since being hospitalized—that doesn’t erase the progress I have made.

And today, I can recognize: I have made a shit ton of progress from the woman I was a year ago, nine months ago when I was hospitalized, even the woman I was arriving in LA three months ago.

Was there a moment you can point to when you learned to forgive yourself?

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