2 min read
When you mention you’re depressed, sometimes people like to say:
Well, the good thing is: you woke up this morning. It’s a blessing to be alive!
Is it really? Why? What does being alive mean to a person suffering through depression? Another endless day to trudge through? More pretending like things are okay, putting on a happy face, so you don’t have to explain yourself to others, see their pity, or worry about bringing them down with your gloomy mood? Wondering if there will ever be an end to this misery, because it seems like you’ll always feel this way? Trying not to collapse when someone asks, “How are you”?
You ever have everything in your life seem to go wrong at once?
I try not to have regrets. I generally think all of the events that occur in our lives are part of some larger purpose – or to put it in a less spiritual way – that there’s something to be gained even from negative experiences.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for over three years and they have been some of the unhappiest years of my life. At times, I wonder if I’ve wasted three good years of my 30s – my fleeting youth – on this place, and to what end? I had two jobs that screwed with me mentally & emotionally. I felt used, overlooked, abused, and ignored.
I think about why I left Los Angeles, reminiscing on the good times and the great friends I left behind, the social life I used to have. The outgoing person I used to be. I consider the person I am now, the burgeoning recluse, and life feels unreal. It’s as though I don’t truly exist here. I’m floating through.
My self-esteem has taken a nosedive. It’s akin to becoming a teenager again who has to learn what it means to love yourself. I care less and less about my appearance, because why bother? Who am I going to meet? How is today going to be any different from yesterday?
I look forward to bedtime because at least I get a reprieve from reality. I can hope to have vivid, pleasant dreams. When I awake, for a brief moment I can entertain the idea that maybe this day will be different than the others.
Eating is often the highlight of my day. Thinking about what I’m going to consume awakens that area of the brain responsible for pleasure.
I cry almost every day. I feel so alone and it’s not the kind of loneliness that is cured by just going out to dinner with a concerned friend. It’s the intense ache you carry with you, knowing you’re missing something you need to survive.
Even on my recent trip to Southeast Asia, the depression didn’t take a vacation, it hung there, followed me everywhere, clouding my enjoyment. I love to travel and even that wasn’t enough to dissipate the fog.
Lately, I’ve begun to question my decision-making skills because it seems I’ve made one bad decision after another. Why did I move here? Why did I accept those jobs? Why did I pick this neighborhood to live in? Why don’t I fit in? Should I have opened door number two instead?
I don’t think those who don’t suffer from depression really know what it’s like. To feel numb and emotionless, to just go through the motions. It’s the worst feeling. To give up on everything, reaching the point where you care less and less what happens to you. There’s a hollowness. Perhaps that’s the brain’s way of protecting us from too much emotional trauma.
It doesn’t cheer me up to hear that one has to go through the storm to appreciate the sunshine. How many storms does one need to weather? How many times does our resolve need testing? And to think there might be 40, 50 or 60 years more of this capricious cycle. Perhaps at some point in the future, the puzzles pieces will connect and I’ll understand what the purpose of these trials, but for now I wonder what sadistic force is pulling the strings.
Treating depression isn’t as simple as repeating a few positive mantras, listing all you have to be grateful for, or knowing that things could be worse. If one more person says, “We choose to be happy…”
I don’t talk much about my depression, because I don’t want people to look at me differently. This country treats mental illness like it’s a shameful flaw. Many misunderstand it. Some refuse to even accept it as a real problem. I’ve found it easier to outwardly move through the world as one of the “normal” people. Those whose emotions don’t sink to depths as dark and isolated. I wish I knew what it was like to feel emotions less intensely.
I’m exhausted and tired of fighting. There has to be more to life than this, otherwise, why am I here?
I just want to see the sun again.
Do you suffer from depression or does someone you love struggle with depression or anxiety? How do you cope?