Sometimes I clean the window but leave streaks behind - namely a voice that tells me that even if my situation seems okay, I'm still useless, pathetic and unloved. And sometimes, on my darkest days, the window breaks into shards and cuts me, and I am left unprotected, bruised and battered by the elements until I can gather strength and replace it. But always, in some form, the window is there - it is a permanent fixture in my life.
And for me, that is the biggest challenge of living with depression - that it never really leaves me. Like a cancer, or an addiction, it can be managed, but not cured, so even when it is in remission, so to speak, it is there, lurking in the recesses of my brain - dormant, but ready to spring forth at any moment.
I am forever learning, though, as I attempt to find ways to live with my depression. Medication is like a window cleaner that helps to clear things up. And therapy, reading and research help me to see through the smudges when they appear, and even find ways to see beauty in the dirt.
Sometimes I wish that my window didn't exist, and I could look at my life without the lens of depression. But then I remind myself that it allows me to see some things that other people do not. It makes me more sensitive and compassionate towards others and the windows they look through. And regardless of whether it is clean or dirty, foggy or clear, my window is mine and mine alone and I will live out my life looking through it, so I will always try my best to enjoy the view.