The Thing About Depression (Mar 2007)

1. When you tell somebody that you are depressed, they try to cheer you up. Depression isn’t always something that you can will your way out of. It’s a deep, dark whole, so sometimes you need somebody to help you out. All those people standing above yelling at you to just get out of the whole aren’t really helping all that much. Throw me a rope instead of just telling me to try harder.

2. It makes you stop doing things that you enjoy. Personally, when I am depressed, I have almost no energy. When I do have energy, I don’t want to spend it on doing anything that I don’t have to do. I eat a lot, watch TV, sleep, etc. I don’t talk to my friends, I don’t pursue my hobbies, I don’t do anything fun or rewarding. I just mope around and try to share my misery with anybody who I trust enough to share it with.

3. People can’t see it, so they don’t always know that there is something wrong. They say that cancer is the silent killer, but I would say that depression is, as well. On one side, it makes it easy to hide from people you don’t want to know about it, but on the other, people who have never experienced it can never understand when you do decide that there is somebody who you want to know about it.

4. It looks different in every individual. Personally, I tend to hide it from most people, so you probably wouldn’t know that I was depressed unless you were actually there when my defenses broke down, or unless I actually told you that I was depressed. The average person that I encounter everyday would never have a clue.

5. Since it is different for every individual, there isn’t one catchall solution. For some people counselling is enough. For others it is just a matter of changing your thought patterns. For others medications work. For still others depression treatments might include (gasp) shock therapy (known to work for individuals with major depression). Personally, I’ve tried the first and second options with mixed results. Maybe it’s time to try medication.

6. You often don’t want to ask for help. You think yourself unworthy or you think that nothing can help you. You also can’t help anybody else because you are broken, so when people come to you with their problems, there isn’t much that you can do. You can’t get help and you can’t give it.

7. It makes your thoughts scattered. It is extremely hard to focus when you are dying inside. When all you think about all the time is how unloveable, unworthy, stupid, useless, ugly you are, there isn’t a lot of space in there for anything else. If one’s work requires a lot of brain capacity, it’s difficult to do when you are feeling like this. That’s why the sleeping and TV, things that require no brain activity at all. Depression is an emotional issue, but it effects every other aspect of your life as well.

Anyway, there’s a lot more, but I don’t have it in me to go into any of the other stuff right now. Suffice it to say, I am not well. I need help, but don’t know where to get it. Pray for me.

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