“Why don’t you stop being depressed?” “What do you have to be sad about?” These are common things I hear from people when they find out that I have depression. They think there is a certain thing that has happened to me that can be “fixed,” but there is a small problem with depression, sometimes it can’t be repaired. There isn’t a light switch in my head that I can flip at any given moment to make this just go away.
There are different disorders for depression with a lot of symptoms, like, a lot, a lot. Yeah, sometimes your dog dies and you feel a little blue for a few months, and other times it’s been with you your whole life. Some women get perinatal depression, or postpartum depression, a serious issue after giving birth. Bipolar disorder is a form of depression because of the extreme switching of mood changes. It is considered one of the most common mental disorders, and a lot of it has to do with your genetics, and can happen at any age.
If there is one word I could use to help people understand what I feel, it would be hopelessness. I’ve had that feeling for as long as I can remember. I’ve never felt I deserved happiness. Even as a child I thought there was no point in striving to better myself as a person. I felt the world looked at me as something pathetic and not worth putting any time into. My personal accomplishments, marriage, my children; they were all something I felt I should never have, and I didn’t deserve, because something in the back of my mind would remind me daily of how horrible I am.
Telling yourself that you’ll never amount to anything, and you’ll always be unhappy, doesn’t really matter much to you after a while. Even people I disliked couldn’t penetrate my shell. However, when friends see this in you and tell you it, it hurts. When someone you love says these things about you it is beyond painful. I’ve put myself in a hole so many times and each time I’ve found myself back in it. When the people you love the most see you as the failure you think you are, the pit of despair is bottomless.
I did an excellent job of masking my issues. People had no idea there was even a problem. Comedians do an exceptional job at hiding their pain. For example, they make people relive their personal secrets in a comedic approach. All of my favorite comedians have dark senses of humor, and there is, of course, a reason for that. It helps them cope, and in return it helps us as well. When you can’t get the help you need sooner or later it will engulf you and tear you apart.
It was around a year ago when I started to really notice how much I was falling apart. I knew I was in trouble, and I knew my marriage was failing. People don’t understand how hard it is to ask for help or to even admit you need help, especially when it comes to something that exposes your own weaknesses. You don’t want people to look at you differently, and you’re afraid because of that you’ll lose them.
That was my biggest issue. I was afraid. Instead, I lost everything because I didn’t ask for help. If people truly love you, if they really value your friendship, they aren’t going to turn you away. Because of this I lost one of the most important people in my life. When she left me it put me back in the hole I was trying to crawl out of. I didn’t think I would get out, so I attempted suicide. I was lucky to fail in that attempt, which I will write about later, and to push even harder to make myself a better person. These last seven months I pushed so hard for myself and my children. I know my ex doesn’t want anything to do with me now but, while that hurts, I know I can still be happy.
It is still there though. This thing is a part of me. It will never go away. There are moments where I should be nothing but happy, but I can feel it crawling back to the forefront of my mind, a whisper almost trying to remind me that I shouldn’t be happy. I can’t go back to that. If I do, I’m not coming back and I don’t want that at all. I have the tools now and I have the willpower to finally push it back.
If you know someone is depressed, the best way you can help them is to approach the issue, not dance around it. I was hiding my issues the best way I could and it ruined many relationships. There are so many vices we can succumb to in order to hide away our problems. Don’t let that happen to them. The best thing you can do is face it and show your support.