Depression is one of the worst things I have ever gone through and am currently still struggling to overcome. Depression is a monster that lives in my shadows waiting for the next moment to torture me and control me. Depression the way that I have experienced it is one of the cruelest self punishments that I can not control. Depression is not something that should be used as lightly as it is used now days. People talk about a TV show ending and it gives them depression…which is nothing compared to what true depression is. True depression is a mental illness. Most people who don’t have true depression also have this illusion that you can just get over it in a day , week, or even a month…that if you’re not dying or going to through a tragedy that is obvious to the human eye right in front of them that you have no reason in the world to be depressed and that you are being dramatic. I have been asked many times “What do you have to be depressed about?” Or “Why do you have to be such a drama queen?” Or they tell me they or someone they know has it much worse and how I am not supposed to be depressed. Or how it’s just an excuse… I’ve heard a lot and been told a lot and for the sake of this article I will not mention all of it.
Let me take you into my world of depression for a moment not to dull your mood or a pity party, but to instead shed some insight on depression …true depression… why your friend or family member can’t seem to get over being down all the time the way you want them too. Too help you to understand why it can’t be helped or fixed in a short amount of time…and what you should not say to someone who is depressed. Before I get started I will also note that I have anxiety, panic attacks, and ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder) So it may make matters worse for me when I hit a depression faze.
I have been depressed in many ways and many times throughout my entire life. I even remember being a child and feeling this way…because I hated my childhood and my teen years. But my depression took a darker more severe turn about 5 years ago for many reasons that I am not going to get into.
5 years ago when my depression switched to severe something in my brain switched and turned off. I know it’s a weird way to explain it. When I say shut off I mean that all of the sudden my brain no longer enjoyed things I used to enjoy at all. I felt like there was no point to anything I liked or loved anymore. Sounds dramatic I know but that’s what happened. I questioned everything about life and the point of life or being alive. None of it seemed to matter anymore. I slept all the time, ate all the time, and cried or lashed out in anger and pushed people away…24/7. Once in awhile I would get little glimpses of what somewhat of happy felt like. Last year it took a turn for the worse and my happiness completely shut off and I no longer wanted to be alive. I was scared of my every thought. I was scared to lay my head down at night to go to sleep because instead of going to sleep I laid there for hours and hours having horrible thoughts, anxiety , and panic attacks… at that point I would have rather been dead then to feel the way that I was feeling… numb, like a zombie, and dead inside. It even got to the point that I told my fiance that I was so scared of my thoughts and suicidal thoughts that I didn’t ever want to be alone… which sounds crazy I know, and I told him that I would rather check myself into a hospital then feel like this. Even right now writing this it gives me so much anxiety because I can remember exactly what it felt like and how traumatizing and horrifying it was to feel that way … it tortured me…my thoughts tortured me, I cried literally everyday because I was helpless…I no longer had an ounce of hope for myself.. No one ever knew this but myself and my fiance until now because I want to share my story in the hope of getting you to understand when your friend or family says they are depressed that it is no joking matter even if you don’t see why they are depressed. This year of 2016 I have had so many changes good and bad that I have been happy and depressed and filled with so many mixed emotions all year. I have had a couples months of the fog and storms lifted …but every time I thought I saw happiness or the way out of my depression shackles something pulled me back in. This is why I say depression is a monster that lives in the shadows because just when I think I’m free I feel as though I am attacked by this hopeless numb feeling again out of nowhere. Finally 5 months ago everything seemed better and I could smile and actually mean it…until 3 and a half months ago my world got shaken again by many different things that I am still currently going through… and the light in my eyes disappeared and I started crying every other day and sleeping all the time and lashing out in anger and pushing people away again. This month I have seen little specks of light and happiness and laughter… but also sadness, fear, anger, resentment, loneliness because of my thoughts and depression not being something anyone else understands. I can’t tell you why my brain decided to shut off all of the sudden sending me down a whirlwind of torture by my very own thoughts …it just does and like I said depression is a mental illness that is not something easily gotten rid of. I am working on it trying to find my way of light again and finding my passions that made me happy. One day I will get there but to my friends in family if I am not wanting to hang out or chat on the phone or I ignore your calls …it’s not me being a snob…it goes much deeper than that. I wish I didn’t think as deeply as I do but it’s not the way I am. I have to find myself again before I can be the person who happily laughs and chats with you. So please understand.
Here are some things to stop saying to people who say they are depressed.
1.) What do you have to be depressed about? I mean I think it’s obvious why this may be hurtful and in return makes they hem push you away aND not open up to you anymore
2.) It could be worse or so and so has it much worse you should be happy. Saying this doesn’t help anything and only makes matters worse and our thoughts of hating ourselves much worse. Think before you speak and speak from a loving heart.
3.) Stop being so dramatic or you’re so full of drama… news flash we aren’t opening up to you for a lecture and it just shows us how little you care.. and makes us close ourselves off from you.
4.) Stop making excuses for yourself… I think this is another obvious one on why it’s a bad thing to say.
5.) I’m tired of you feeling this way…. (yeah so are we and you come off as though if it isn’t convincing you , you don’t care.
6.) Stop being tired all the time…or you are so lazy sleeping all time … (there are reasons we sleep as much as we do to escape and try to stay sane.
7.) You need to get out more or do something to make it better! … we don’t go out because we find it more depressing to be around people who don’t understand and can be happy go luck all the time…because we miss that feeling. And we don’t want to lash out angry and sad at people who don’t understand why we are super quiet or distant.
8.) Why are you depressed? … well we do not always know why sometimes we can be smiling and laughing and half way through the laugh are brain shuts off and it gets ugly in our thoughts and we can’t shake it. If we always knew why I believe it would be easier to fix.
There is a ton more but hopefully those of you with a loving heart can understand where I am coming from with this article. I know that once this article is published that people might look at me differently or as someone who is weak. I can’t control the way others view struggles. I know that we live in a world where social media is all about posting everything great and over exaggerating the fabulous things you get to do or how you look or how popular you are … that we can’t possibly be seen struggling or depressed… because it is viewed as weak. However to me sharing your struggles even when you aren’t proud of them and showing that you aren’t perfect if more brave than posting about how great your vacation was in your fabulous lifestyle is. Everyone struggles and its about time we stop shamming people who are honest about it. I wrote this article in the hopes to help those with true depression not feel alone. And to help those with out depression and I mean true life altering depression not just stress about your job or school or bills …actual depression and struggling with feeling like there is no point to continue living…to help you have a more compassionate heart to those around you who may be sad, angry, tired all the time, not wanting to hang out and saying they are depressed.
Again thank you for tuning in and taking the time to read this article I hope it helps.
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