Depression. A word that leaves people scared and feeling awkward as they back away from the person who has it.
I battle depression. I have for years. It’s a common thing with hypothyrodism, but I didn’t know until a doctor told me five years ago. It’s hard. And it’s not what everyone thinks.
It’s hating yourself for not particular reason, yet for everything. The way you look, the way you talk, the way you make a pizza. Everything is constant internal criticism. And not knowing how to shut it off.
It’s not wanting to do anything. No energy. Not wanting to be around people, yet feeling lonely. Desperately wanting to feel loved, but not knowing how to return it. How can you love someone else when you don’t love yourself?
It’s smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes so no one sees the darkness in you.
It’s not just sadness. It’s so much more. It’s self-loathing, it’s fatigue, it’s moodiness.
It’s anger. Especially when seemingly well-meaning people say things that don’t help. At all.
“Cheer up, you’re too pretty to be depressed.” –if it were that easy, I wouldn’t battle it every day. None of this works that way. Being pretty has nothing to do with depression. This doesn’t help.
“Tomorrow will be better.”–but what if it’s not? You don’t know. You don’t know how my mind works. Hell, I don’t even know how my mind works. This isn’t helpful.
“Please hang in there. You have so much to live for.”–not everyone who battles depression is suicidal. Please, keep these comments for someone who indicates they are suicidal and not for someone having a bad depression day. It alienates us even more because we don’t want to have to explain that isn’t even a thought. Also, if someone IS suicidal, commenting on a post or sending a message probably isn’t enough. Call, go to their house, or find someone who can.
“Are you happy now?” –having a bad depression day doesn’t just end. It’s a lot like a hangover, leaving you tired and miserable for a few days after. You can’t just pull out of a depressed state. It takes time.
“Those medicines are awful. No one should take them.”–discussing medicines you know nothing about isn’t good for anyone. In fact, saying this makes you look ignorant and the depressed person angry. Don’t discuss antidepressants unless you’re a doctor.
“But you have so much good going on!”–depression is a mental illness. I can’t help the way I feel. Would you tell a diabetic to stop being diabetic because they have a good life? No. Because they can’t. Same goes for mental illness.
Depression is so much more than people realize. I wish people would educate themselves more. I’ve been going through a hard time recently, had to get my medicine dosage upped (and I’m not ashamed to admit that), and got a lot of these comments. I know the people didn’t mean to hurt me more, but it did. When I’m stuck in my own mind, an endless cycle of feeling like a failure and wondering if I can do anything right, it’s hard to pull out of it. Saying things like this won’t help me. It may make me worse. A lot of things won’t help. It takes time and sleep and crying and writing and a whole host of other things to feel better.
It’s different for everyone. No two people are the same. If you know someone depressed, ask if you can help. It’s simple and it shows you care. Sometimes we just need to know people care.