Monday, March 28, 2011

Living With This Thing Called Depression

I hear it a lot:

Just leave the house, it will make you feel better.
Let's go to a party.
Get your hair cut.
Come on, let's go watch a movie.
Hey, wanna go out to 6th?
I'm having a get together at my house - wanna come?

Here is the thing - I have been fighting with depression for years. I think back and I don't think it really started until I was in college and my mother attempted to end her life. It was during this time that I myself was so devastated and confused (I was 18) that I started to get anxiety attacks and these "moments" where I was just enraged and then terribly miserable the next second. I was away from home in college, and I remember that semester I only completed 7 hours. I was upset, I was disappointed. And the funny thing about it all is that my mother never talked to me about it - she never apologized for telling me she would never forgive me for calling my family when I found her almost dead in my grandfather's bed. She didn't talk to me when we picked her up from the hospital, her clothes covered in this gray carbon-looking liquid. We didn't talk about it.

Depression can affect people differently. When it happens to me, I just feel miserable. And sad. I am in a sad slump. And the sad thing is that once you are in that little slump, there really isn't much you can do to get out of it other than just ride it out. But oftentimes, when you are in that slump, the last thing you want to do is leave your cave. I don't know what triggers it, it just pops out of nowhere. My Catch-22 is that I feel so lonely and so sad, yet I don't want to be in the company of others - I just want to be alone. Pretty much defeats the purpose right? But amongst people suffering from depression, it makes sense. The things that used to bring just a little bit of joy in my life - exercise, drinking with my best friends, bowling, watching my nephew play soccer - these things no longer give me the motivation to leave my house. I don't find any reason to do anything because I know it will not make me feel better. Nothing helps. I can sit and stare outside into the world for hours. I see small children playing in the streets and I get worse. I see a couple, holding hands and laughing and I feel worse. I see people doing their day-to-day thing at the grocery store, at school, at work, at the gym - and it makes me feel like shit. Perhaps that is why I feel like my cave is my sanctuary - it shields me from triggers that impede my "getting better".

Depression is not a weakness. It is an illness. Please don't judge those who suffer from it. Please be understanding that not everyday is a ray of fucking sunshine. Sometimes, there are a series of days that smell like shit and look like the devil's ass. Be kind to one another.

Image: Smashing Magazine

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