Have you ever been in the middle of a story, pouring your heart out to a confident, when your confident tells you they know exactly how you feel only to tell you a story that hardly scrapes the surface of how you feel?
Whenever I bring up depression I feel that is what people think when they try comforting me. It is a common occurrence. Maybe they feel uncomfortable with sadness that sprouts from the mundane or nowhere. The most common responses I hear are, “I’m just trying to help,” or, “Just get over it.” If it was as easy as “just getting over it” then I would not be as upset as I am.
There is a difference between being depressed and having depression.
Plenty of people have been depressed at some point. So devastated in their life where they lose themselves in sadness and hopelessness. But has that level of hopelessness been triggered by something as insignificant as a B on a geometry test? Or by knowing you have to go to the store and interact with people? Or just by waking up in the morning?
Once you have transcended depression and look back, you realize how scary it is. How close you come to the edge but never quite slip. You debate if it’s cowardice that has kept you alive, but sometimes it is as ridiculous as grasping for something stupid. For me, it was my family. Not because they would miss me, but because the money they would have to spend. I knew we did not have the money for that. And for them to have to clear out my room, that is too much to ask of anyone.
Depression, chronic dysthymia, social anxiety, mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, introversion, catastrophic thinking. The very modest list of things with which the psychologist diagnosed me. She thought it disconcerting that I had obsessed over death since I was in second grade and considered the concept of my own death as young as sixth. I thought the, “Tell me about your childhood,” line was a joke. What could anyone learn from asking questions about someone’s childhood? No, I did not have very many friends, but I went to a small school. Yes, other kids used to pick on me and tell me no one liked me, not even my own friends, but that is how people talk to each other. Yes, I was a horrible person, but that is what my school’s principal said. God never grants prayers he deems selfish. No, I had no friends in high school, but that is because no one wants to be friends with horribly selfish people.
It took me years to realize this is not normal.
Once you have transcended depression, you see people for who they really are. Which ones will say you’re dramatic, you’re a crybaby, you’re looking for attention. Which ones will mock you for seeking medicinal help, for trying to take your life back. Which ones will say, “You’re too hard to cheer up, or, “There’re too many things wrong with you.” Which ones will say, “This is why nobody likes you,” or, “You need to change if you want friends.”
Depression is more than being sad. It’s dreading the morning because you have to interact with people. It’s dreading the night because you’ll be alone with your thoughts. It’s wanting to run away every day in hopes of escaping it. It’s about wanting to cry but hating yourself because there is no reason for you to cry. It’s finding peace by crawling into a crevice where no one will find you. It’s feeling alone in a crowd of friends. It’s feeling nothing when you’re surrounded by love. It’s wanting to tear into your chest and squeeze your heart in hopes of regaining some kind of feeling.
It’s desperation to feel anything.
Once you transcend depression, people tell you that you’re not depressed. Head and Shoulders shampoo made some commercials years ago, how person A uses said shampoo and person B responds with, “But you don’t have dandruff,” to which person A replies, “Exactly.” I rarely tell people about the medicine I take for depression because they always respond with, “I don’t think you need it, you seem fine to me.” I want to respond with sarcasm, but I can’t get myself to do it. Instead I smile and pretend I agree.
Many say, “I’m just trying to help,” with their “cheer up” and “I know how you feel” comments, but it doesn’t help. It makes us feel worse.
Sometimes all you need to say is, “That must suck.”