I wish people would truly understand that like many things, depression is NOT a choice. It is an illness that I am doing everything I know how to cope with. I take medication, I go to therapy, I am exploring alternative ways of managing this curse. I am not being a passive sufferer here. And yet, I see and hear others say, "smile, just be happy", "its just PMS, you'll get over it", "think positive", and "there are people who have it worse off than you", etc. One day I will punch someone in the face who says that to me or another person like me and I'll do it with a smile and then will run away bawling. Because that's what we do, fake it until we just can't any more and then we break down. Rinse and repeat.
I have broken down this past week.
I remember being a kid and not understanding why my father would sit in silence in his chair next to the wood stove with his head in his hands. I would say "be happy Daddy, its not so bad". And he would just look at me with dark eyes. I understand now and I am sorry for minimizing his pain. The pain that I didn't believe was real until it begin to creep up on me with a vengeance in my 20s and has only continued to worsen into my next decade of life.
I don't chose to be a crazy emotional bitch who lashes out, sleeps as much as possible, walks around listless and teary, and can barely muster the energy to face the day and sometimes doesn't even do that much. I hide so much of it that what people see is only the very tip of a massive iceberg of aching that I cannot begin to explain. I don't know why I am this way, why this happens. I could blame it on genetics and really, that's as good of an explanation as I've got.
I don't think about ending my life. Well, ok, I have thought about it, but not in a serious way. I have a family and a child to live for and that's enough to keep me from tipping over the precipice. But I must say that I understand on some small level why and how those who are tired of suffering so much that doesn't make sense to them finally decide to just end it because trying to cope is not working and they see no other solution. Depression is a burden. A colossal load that one carries on their backs every day. On good days it feels lighter but on bad ones it crushes me to a near breaking point that I am terrified to ever fully reach.
This post is a plea for understanding which in reality, I think is near impossible. Maybe it is more an entreaty for patience. I know it's a pain in the ass to deal with me, to live with me, to be my friend sometimes. I swear to you that I do not want to be this way. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. And when the illness is minimized as a "mood", it only adds to the burden I already carry.
"If you are chronically down, it is a lifelong fight to keep from sinking"
- Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
That's all I'm doing really. Just trying to keep from sinking.