When I hear the word depression these days, it’s usually referring to some teen girl whose parents didn’t buy her that new curling iron she just had to have. I get it, you know, most people who’ve never had a serious bout with mental health use these terminologies in place of the usual ways to describe feelings. I still cant help but get a little nauseous when I hear people talk about how anxious they are about this, or depressed about that. Granted, I am judging here a bit as I don’t know their life, I can’t say that they don’t suffer from mental illness like you and I. Still, we know that there are people who use these terms, not acknowledging the weight they hold for some people. I still can’t help but feel that if they were inside my head, even for a minute, they might see the terms differently.
I often find myself wondering what I would have been like had I never been depressed, or had panic attacks. Would I still be me? That’s a pretty loaded question, and its rhetorical, so no need to answer. I see these people go through terrible situations, and I always feel bad for them. Like their house was ripped to shreds by a tornado and they’ve lost everything. The first thing that comes to my head is those people who say “What do you have to be depressed about? There are other people who have it way worse”. I never liked that type of thinking. Yes, they have it far worse than me, yes I know that I have a pretty good like that most people would do anything for. But how does that help the fact that I still want to die? It doesn’t, in fact it usually makes me feel worse because if I could, I would give my life to that family on TV, I mean I don’t want it.
I’ll see these same people who’ve lost everything turn to religion for strength. Good for them, I’m glad they have that kind of solidarity in their life. Yet it often makes me think that if there is a god, than why did it make me defective. I am a firm believer in science and biology, therefore the only reason life has made it as far as it has is because is has a self-preservation code written into the DNA. If so, where is mine? Why do I not have what every living thing for the past untold millenia have had that makes them want to live. Why is it that a god made me, full well knowing, that I would just want to die?
I often tell myself that I should really just get over my depression, and not be so anxious. I only wished it was that easy. Some people seem to think it is. You see they think that with a little bit of sunshine, a good diet and an exercise routine you can cure depression. I’m not doubting that it would help, but how is vitamin D, a bunch of salad and some laps around the track going to give me the will to live? If curing diseases were that easy, pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t exist. There would be no money to be made in making pills to cure disease when you can just do it “the old-fashioned way”.
I want to make it clear that I am actually doing quite well at the moment, getting better with medication. Although I still can’t seem to rid my brain of these depressed thoughts. I don’t even know if I can think any other way. I’ve been this way for the majority of my life, and those kind of habits are near impossible to break. I mean, sure, I will probably some day, but who knows? The future is so uncertain that we can say all these wonderful hopeful things like, don’t worry you’ll meet someone (romantically), or I know that you’ll succeed. I kinda just want to scream, “ You know, it’s great that you’re being super supportive and all, but you just can’t be certain. Unless you can magically now see the future there is no possible way that you have taken all the variables into account. Like what if I have butter instead of jelly on my toast, but I would have met my dream wife if I had the jelly!”
My brain is usually an endless stream of thoughts like this, and it is always very tiring. I think it’s probably one of the greatest strengths in my writing, because it allows me to write as the story flows through my head. I mean at times it’s wonderful. But, I’m sure you can imagine what this was like at the rock bottom of my depression. The endless negative, suicidal, painful thoughts rushing in with no where to get out. It’s part of the reason I think that writing is so theraptuic for me, because it gives me this spicket that I can jab into my head and let the thoughts flow (Don’t actually stab yourself in the head with a faucet, please).
Let me end this with a question, and hopefully you can answer me. You see this was my way of explaining that we all have our predetermined notions of how mental illness should act. Same goes for people that have never dealt with mental illness.
My question is, what is your most common preconception of other people, and how does it affect your mental health?