Have you ever felt so down that you didn’t want to get up in the morning? Or have you ever reacted to something that was quite meaningless but it seemed like your world was crashing down? I have.
For at least the last ten years I’ve been dealing with one hell of a scary monster: depression. It’s the first time I’ve come out publicly and said that I carry it around with me and lately, I’ve been feeling its effects more and more.
I won’t go into details of when I first noticed it or all the major times it has affected my life, but I realized last night just how far reaching its tendrils were. I will react to something that is mildly inconvenient as if it is earth-shattering. I get overly emotional at the little things and have a hard time keeping it contained in public. It’s not the overwhelming sadness or apathy that gets me. It’s the roller coaster of emotions that nearly take over my body and force me to rant and rave, cry my eyes out and act like the world is against me. And sometimes I really think this damn university is out to get me, but that’s a blog post for another day.
When Robin Williams died, I was definitely sad, but part of me was at least a tiny bit glad that from his death the door opened for the world to finally start talking about depression, about how it can affect anyone at any time. But of course different tragedies struck and people forgot about the dialogue they had started about depression and that it is never the victims fault.
People with depression carry a monster on their back. Some monsters are small and keep to themselves most of the time, but others are large and heavy, ruining everything we hold dear. Sometimes people with depression can’t eat, can’t sleep, and just can’t get out and do or enjoy the things in life that they once loved or that need to be done. It’s hard.
For those of you reading this who deal with depression, just know that there are so many resources out there to help you get through this. Talk to friends or a therapist, seek help. You may not want to, but connecting with at least one person can help tremendously. Use your support system to your advantage and don’t be ashamed of the monster on your back. You aren’t the only one.
And to those of you who do not deal with depression, never ever blame the person who has it. A lot of the time, it’s almost impossible to control. Imagine a weight sitting on your chest all the time. One you’re in bed or sitting down, that weight makes it impossible to get back up again. That weight makes you feel like all you should do is sit there for eternity until someone or something lifts that weight off and lets you breathe again. It is never the victim’s fault. Be there for them and let them know that if they ever need to talk, that you’re there for them. Never pressure them to get out of the house or do anything. And sometimes, a silent companion is all they need to get through another day. So just be a warm and welcoming presence in their life and when they can finally put that monster back under the bed for a while, they’ll thank you for being so compassionate and understanding.
If anyone out there has any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you.
And if you’re thinking about taking your own life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Get help as soon as possible because there are so many people who love you who don’t want to lose you.
I’ll leave you with this fantastic video by a man named Sky Williams who sums up depression perfectly.