The Realities of Living with Depression
A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about ways to fight depression. The reception I got, based on the comments, was not quite what I expected. In fact, people hated it…
It’s not the first article that I’ve written that people didn’t like. It was, however, the first time negative public opinion stuck with me. Very rarely in life do I ever think I owe anyone an explanation, but in this case, I am offering one: I wrote the article as a reminder to myself, because I too have dealt with depression my entire life. I’m taking this opportunity to open up for the people out there that feel the same way as I do every day, but don’t know how to say what they are feeling. One of the most frustrating aspects of depression is trying to explain to other people exactly what depression is REALLY like. No sugar coating. No back-patting.
Just a real discussion of how depression affects your life.
It’s Hard for Even ME to Understand
If there is one word I could use to describe depression it would be “perplexing”. I know I shouldn’t be depressed. I know I should love life and enjoy every minute, but there are days when it is a monumental feat to just get out of bed. If you were to ask me why, I honestly don’t have an answer. Depression doesn’t take a day off, so it is a constant struggle to keep moving forward, even when you know in your soul that you need to keep going. It’s like trying to climb up an icy hill wearing latex boots.
It’s exhausting and frustrating because you just want to break out of your funk, but some days you just can’t. I go entire weeks in a deep funk at a time, and that just compounds the depression and anxiety. There are always going to be people that say things like “snap out of it”, and trust me: if I COULD I WOULD. It’s so easy to just say “oh, be happy”, but if you’ve never lived with depression, you don’t know how hard that can actually be.
Alone in a Crowd
If you suffer from depression there are times when you could be in a football stadium full of people and it makes you feel more alone than you have ever been. You feel like people don’t understand you, because often times – you don’t even understand yourself. Even when you do what I am trying to do and explain yourself, you just feel like you are rambling. You think “if I don’t understand this, how could anyone else?” When you crawl in your own head and try to make sense of what is going on mentally and emotionally, it is like trying to break through a language barrier. Your words don’t come out right. You get lost in your own thoughts. Trust me, I am doing it right now.
Putting on a Brave Face
So, you do what I try to do every day. You paste on a brave face, and you tell yourself that you can beat this. You fight every day to suppress those nagging, negative thoughts. You smile like a fool so that people won’t assume that there is something wrong with you. The problem is: you know that something is wrong. It never goes away, even if it ebbs from time to time. At the end of the best days, the depression is still there, patiently waiting.
Expression, When I can, Doesn’t Help
Even when you find the words to express how you’re feeling, very rarely does it change anything. It’s like acknowledging that there is a fire that you can’t put out. Sure, you’ve identified the issue, but there isn’t a real solution. Sure, you can get medicated out of your gourd, but personally, I’d rather be depressed than drugged. I know that’s not the case for everyone, that is just my personal opinion.
So, What Do You Do?
For me, I focus on the simplest aspects of life and draw as much pleasure out of them as I can. I take life one day at a time, good, bad, or otherwise. I know I am going to have bad days, and I just move forward. One thing depression can never take away from you is the ability to make progress. I also take great solace in the fact that I am not alone in how I feel, no matter how much I may feel like it. There are endless sources for motivation, support, and understanding out there. In part, that is why I wanted so badly to write this, to let you know that if you suffer from depression like I do, You Are Not Alone. I can’t stress that enough.