It has taken me a really long time to write this post. I keep going back and thinking I didn't write it well enough or I was afraid to post it. This has literally been sitting in my drafts for over a year. I wanted to write a post to explain what depression is really like. It isn't something simple, it is a complex mental illness that people just brush off. I have gone back and edited, rewritten, added and taken away from this post more times than I can count. I am now forcing myself to publish it, so here we go...and I'm sorry if this is long
Depression is like a constant restraint, a glass wall that you can see through but, try as you might, can't break through. Day to day of seeing other people happy a little voice screams "Why can't I just be happy? What is wrong with me? Can't this pain leave me alone?"
Personally I have suffered from depression for about 8 years, which I was only officially diagnosed with about 6 months ago, and I made a decision to start on a low-dose anti-depressant medication. (I really love this persons post and it explains a lot of how I feel).
There are times where it is just pure hell! I just want to cry and curl up in a ball or just feel plain empty. To be perfectly honest, depression is one of the hardest things to deal with and more people suffer from this that you know. Even simple tasks can be difficult to get through because sometimes I just have no motivation to even get out of bed in the morning, or just anything. I hate that depression just likes to jump up out of nowhere and slap you in the face like, "Hey you were having a good day, guess what, I'm going to ruin it."
Depression isn't something worth joking about, it isn't something that people can just "get over." It is a serious mental illness that is a constant struggle. I honestly can't stand it when I hear people joking about depression, self harm or suicide. I want to throw up when I see people use "go cut yourself" or "go kill yourself" to bully someone. Do you not comprehend how serious those things are? Do you not comprehend that telling someone that could be the last push to send someone over the edge and ACTUALLY kill themselves? People who can say, or even type, those words disgust me. How can you possibly think it is ok to say that to someone. And I want to punch people who say that those who claim they have depression, are suicidal or have harmed themselves just do it for the attention.
This is the whole reason I used this topic for the basis of my senior project last year, because people don't seem to understand how much depression can impact a person's life. It can make a normally happy go-lucky person into a quiet wallflower who had to force themselves to even leave the house. It can make getting out of bed and facing the world seem as daunting of a task as climbing Mt. Everest.
Seriously, those people who judge and make fun of depression have no idea how much it can destroy your life. I have lost friends because of it. I have lost relationships because of it. I have had people tell me straight to my face that I had too much baggage and they didn't want to deal with me anymore.
So please, think before you criticize and if you know someone who has depression or any mental illness, don't abandon them because they are having a hard time, be there for them when they need you. You don't have to carry their baggage for them, just be there to lend a hand when it seems like they can't hold it up.
For those of you who do have depression:
What is important though is to find people who care about you and are willing to stand by your side and be strong enough to help you through it. There will be times when people will turn out to be only fare-weather friends and will drop out of your life because they are to busy dealing with personal baggage to want someone else. I can't tell you how many times I have been told to "just deal with it." And while this is a harsh truth, and something I truly hope you never encounter, it will help you find out who will really be there for you in the long run.
I did a post a while ago about things to do to cheer yourself up because this is very important when you are feeling down! But find something that makes you happy, something that makes you smile or just brings you peace. While it is important to have a support group, it is up to you to find ways to be happy. You can do it!
Get out of the house, go do something fun. Getting your mind off what makes you sad is always a good thing.
Target the reason of why you are sad and, if you can, separate yourself from that trigger.
Finally, never forget that you are stronger than your depression or your sadness. Never let it or the world break you, because when you do that is when the world wins. At the risk of being cheesy, the line from Galaxy Quest really is powerful: "Never give up, never surrender."
I found this image and I just wanted to include it because I feel that it is really powerful and when I first saw it is hit something deep inside me. It reminded me that you are not an instrument of your depression and it does not control you.