I’ve wanted to write this post for some time.
Depression isn’t something I love to talk about, or that I even want to talk about, but it’s too important not to discuss. I have friends who’ve been affected by it, and I’ve personally experienced it as well. It’s something so real to me, and it’s also something I fear. I know what it means when depression hits. It means that days will be wasted, that you’ll spend more time lying around than you want to, unable to get up.
In my experience, depression doesn’t bring with it a searing or acute pain. It’s not about extremes of emotion, but rather it’s about the absence or indifference of the specific individual. It’s about feeling utterly hopeless. You don’t care about the things that are happening in your life. You’re kind of just getting by, not putting in too much effort, simply because you have no energy to spare. Depression seeps into your life, until you establish a new way of being, a new normal. You don’t even realize that you’re slowly sinking into a new hell and a new mode of being.
You see people going about their lives, happy, joyful, and full of energy. You realize that you used to love being among people like that, but you know if you were to walk out there right now into that crowd of humanity, you’d be out of place. You see these people enjoying their lives, and you know that you can’t match the energy level of anybody out there. These people actually make you feel worse about yourself because you start to wonder what’s wrong with you that you’re so low, that you can’t get out there and live life like a normal person. You just don’t understand how you got to this place, what changed in you.
The moment that someone diagnoses you, or when you have that crystalizing moment that you are in fact depressed, the weight on your shoulders eases up. You feel a sense of relief, a brief respite from your condition, finally relieved at being able to put a label on something that had seemed so individualized from the very beginning, a pain you weren’t able to articulate to anyone else for any number of reasons, chief among them that you feel ridiculous even talking about it, when everything in your life seems to be going so well. It can all add up on paper, but you feel far from great. You feel like you’re hollowed out and empty.
The diagnosis is followed by a question that has no easy answer. Inevitably you’ll ask, “How do I pull out of this nosedive? How can I heal?” Mental health professionals will prescribe things like pills and therapy, but it’s different for each person. As I’m sure you all know, I’ve always opted for a more natural path. I don’t want to cover up the problems I’ve having within myself, but I also don’t want to disparage anyone who chooses to go the prescription pill route. You should do whatever it takes to get you out of that pit. Once you’re out of it, that’s when you’ll have time to reflect on how you got there, and how you can avoid it in the future. What you need now is a boost, something to get you up and moving, something to help you summon the resolve to make some changes.
Depression isn’t something most people can see. There are symptoms. You will lose interest in the things you used to love. Your energy levels will be lower. Maybe friends and family notice the difference, but to the rest of the world, you’ll look fine, or they’ll simply think that that’s just how you are, that you’re lethargic, and that this is your natural state.
Depression keeps people indoors, and maybe that’s why it’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of the problem. So many sufferers are unable to muster the strength to do anything else other than curl up in a ball. You feel like the world has passed you by, or that it’s rejected you. You’re catatonic. You know you’re in a state of distress, but you can’t figure out why. You don’t think anyone else will understand, so you keep it to yourself, while your condition only gets worse. You stay inside continuing to poison yourself, rather than going out to get the help you not only need, but that you deserve.
Everyone needs help sometimes. Some people think they’re just too strong to succumb to something like depression, and their pride gets in the way, but when it does hit, you need to be able to admit to yourself that you need some assistance, and then you need to go and get it. Getting help may be the last thing you feel like doing, but only you can save yourself at the end of the day. Friends can help, as can family. They be by your side throughout the entire journey, but eventually you’ll have to stand on your own two feet.
You may think of hurting yourself as a way to end all of the pain, and I hope to God you don’t. I hope that you have people around you who love you, and I bet that you do, even if it doesn’t seem like they do in that exact moment. Hurting yourself is one of the most selfish things you can do. Even if you manage to end your own pain, just know that someone else’s pain is just beginning.
Know that you’re not alone. Depression hits people from all walks of life, and the worst thing we do as people in the realm of mental health is keep the pain to ourselves, keeping people from knowing the truths that we’re so ashamed of. It’s a gamble to be sure, to tell someone about what you’re going through, the thoughts you’ve been having, but again, you can’t hide that stuff. That’s how depression works. It keeps things individualized, and it keeps you from opening up.
Please go out and get the help. Don’t give up on life, and don’t give up yourself. You deserve another shot to be happy. You have to believe that things will get better in order for that to actually happen. If you just see the world as a terrible place, then the prophecy will fulfill itself. Stick around, and you’ll find things in this world that bring you happiness. This period of your life can’t last forever, and eventually it will be behind you. I know it doesn’t seem easy to climb out of the pit in this exact moment, but you owe it to yourself, and to everyone who loves you. Thanks for reading.