We’re talking about real depression here. This is more than just feeling sad, or being stressed at a what’s going with one (or even several) situations going on in your life. It’s the kind of depression that causes fatigue, lack of motivation, uncontrollable crying, etc.
A person who is depressed often feels helpless, hopeless, unheard, unloved, sad, anxious, angry, and many other feelings all at the same time. It’s kind of like drowning. There are lots of different reasons that people suffer from depression. For some people it’s simply chemical. Their brain doesn’t function the way it’s supposed to and doesn’t produce the serotonin that the body needs to maintain the balance. (These are often the people who tend to have addiction problems. They don’t understand depression or they’d rather self-medicate than seek help.) Then there are people who have trauma in their life, or multiple traumas. And there are people, like me, who have both. (and other types of people, but this is what I’m familiar with)
It’s really hard for people who don’t understand depression. People who are depressed often understand how difficult it is for others to understand how they feel because they, themselves, have a hard time understanding all the things they’re feeling.
How people react to their own depression varies by each person. What I notice in myself is a silent stoicism. Inside I’m screaming, feeling like I’m practically dying to connect with someone, but not saying much of anything because I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems and because I think that they don’t care. (The feeling that people don’t care, for me, stems from a feeling of worthlessness.) I also offset my depression by overcompensating with the people I have connections with. I also make a big deal out of little things because it gives me something to focus on when I’m having a bout of depression, so I’ll complain (a lot) about stupid things.
There’s a couple of reasons I’m writing this.
Firstly, it’s kind of my way of reaching out. This is kind of big for me because I’m usually the kind of person who doesn’t want or feel the need to ask for any help. I feel like that makes me weak. I hate that I’m a person who suffers from depression and I often don’t share the information. Secondly, it’s kind of my way of saying, “Hey, this is why I _________.” Lastly, to raise awareness in general about depression.
Since awareness is something that I really want to emphasize, I’ll just leave you with this reminder:
If you know someone who is depressed, reach out. Even though it can be difficult, and often overwhelming, to deal with a person who suffers from depression, you can’t assume that someone else will do it. You’ll also be surprised just how far a little validation will go. Don’t ignore them and hope that they’re going to just miraculously get better. Even if they do start getting through their depression, they will remember who was there for them, and they remember who ignored them. Don’t assume that their depression makes them dense either, so don’t patronize or condescend. Another thing, being friends with someone who suffers from depression is not a one-sided friendship. Many people who suffer from depression are extremely empathetic to others’ problems. They are often very loyal and caring friends… or at least, I am a loyal and caring friend, as I can only speak for myself in that.
I’ll let you all go for the night. I just wanted to get my thoughts out in as non-whiny of a way as possible.
**A small note to my loved ones, my hormones have been severely out of whack for the last 6 months. I’m hoping that it will regulate soon. I don’t take prescription or other chemicals for depression because all the side effects are honestly worse than the mild relief. I do have natural supplements that I take, and usually, they work beautifully… when my hormones are more normal. Also, I do know that I’m loved. I know that I’m not worthless. I know that it’s okay to ask for help, but in the throes of a bad bout of depression, that rationality disappears. I also have no suicidal ideations, which is how I can talk about my depression.**