The Complex Architecture of Illness and Longing

Life with an invisible and contrary sidekick that never leaves you alone.

After losing five years to depression, I’m now a human in transit between a past that holds me back and a future calling out to me.

As I strive to imagine a life that I haven’t been part of for a long time and haven’t reintegrated yet, my present is pure longing. I’m chomping at the bit, itching to transcend my illness, and self-actualize. Although the deep-seated desire to get better means progress, there’s no wishing away depression.

Accepting this is probably the most important coping skill you can develop but it forever changes your self-image. Whether you suffer from chronic mental illness as I do or a chronic physical condition invisible to the naked eye, you are now disabled.

Major depressive disorder like mine falls under the ADA (Americans with Disability Act). This means that I technically can’t be discriminated against when applying for a job. Then again, this is likely to make for awkward interviews in the future as HR departments wring their hands in despair not knowing how to handle my openness. Hence freelance work, for now.

Granted, willingly turning your diagnosis into a portfolio is non-standard but stigma and silence kill. Consider this my minuscule journalistic contribution to a more tolerant and tolerable world, the kind of world I don’t live in yet but would like to live in someday.

Because ideals without action are worthless. At the time of writing, the Trump administration is proposing to bar people with disabilities from immigrating to the U.S.

In short, had I been sick when I immigrated rather than falling sick shortly afterwards, America could well have slammed the door in my face.

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