I’ve been depressed for a long time.
I HAVE depression. It doesn’t just go away magickally, by itself.
Add my Generalized Anxiety Disorder into the mix, and it’s really a hot mess on the bad days.
And, I get it, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s difficult to talk about, especially when you don’t understand it, when you’ve never been through it yourself.
It’s not just being sad.
It’s not just being down today, because you have [insert legitimate reason here – breakup, funeral, bad grade, bad hair, flat tire] going on.
It’s not just a random feeling, one day, of anxiousness, or panic, because you have something big coming up.
This is ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. For weeks, months…..years…
I get it.
It’s hard to be around someone who has trouble enjoying life.
It’s hard being around someone who doesn’t socialize much, or at all, really.
It’s hard to be around someone who is always down on herself, uses self-deprecating jokes as a shield, and who is usually too tired to do all the really fun stuff.
It’s hard to be around someone who is quiet, most of the time, because she’s living so much in her own head. Mainly because that’s where she socializes. Because everyone else has already left to find the “interesting” people.
It’s hard to be around someone who wants to go home early, because she’s been watching everyone else enjoying themselves, out with their dates/spouses/S.O.’s, and is now on the verge of an internal meltdown, but doesn’t want anyone else to know – so she smiles tightly, says “Nope! Just tired/ gotta go home & feed the cats / do the laundry /” whatever reason gets her out quickest.
So you just stop asking her to go places.
You stop inviting her anywhere.
Because it’s uncomfortable.
I get it.
Even though, when you’re the one that’s having problems, I’m always there. Willing to lend a confidential ear, a shoulder, a tissue.
But that’s ok. I don’t keep score.
Because I know what pain feels like, I don’t want anyone else to have to experience it.
Because I know the crush of depression, I don’t want anyone else to have to live under it.
Because I know the constant dread of anxiety, I don’t want anyone else to have to fear it.
Just – stop dis-counting me.
I’m not invisible.
And my feelings get hurt too. No matter what I might say in the moment.
Last weekend, OnlySon & I were arguing about addictions & video games, but something I said to him has stuck.
“Gaming addictions, drug addiction, alcoholism, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, you name it, they’re ALL chemical imbalances that cause physical and mental problems.
JUST LIKE DIABETES.
No one blames a diabetic for BEING diabetic.
Why do people blame someone with Depression for being Depressed??
I take my medications, but they don’t work perfectly. They don’t magically stop me from being depressed, or anxious.
They do stop me from being tense all the time, grinding my teeth in my sleep, oh – and they’ve stopped me from killing myself.
It’s the little things.
We, as a society, need to STOP dis-counting mental illnesses, and the people who have them.
They need to be seen as just as valid as diabetes, hypertension, etc. They are all medical conditions. They should all be treated as such.
Stop treating me as less than.
And maybe, just maybe, I’d stop seeing myself that way.