Thursday, November 21, 2013

Depression Doesn't Care About That

I have talked, briefly, in the past about my depression. I have mostly, in my own opinion, whined about feeling depressed and upset and sad. Trust me when I say, I hate talking about depression as much as I hate having depression.

However, I've never really talked about depression as just the disease of depression. Because it is a disease, and not just because it's in a big medical text book about mental health diseases. After all, homosexuality used to be in that big book. No, depression is a disease because we know at least some of the causes (mostly chemical imbalances in the brain).

Not that that is what I want to talk about either.

I want to talk about the fact that depression doesn't care about race, sexuality, gender, or any other factor when deciding who to affect. It doesn't care about your politics, who you went to school with, or what your favorite color is. How things are going in your life can affect whether or not you have a depressive episode (it sounds like a TV show when I say that... if only it could be fixed in 30 minutes or less with a nice warm hug at the end and never return again). My worst bout of depression happened last year when Ace was on a truck and I was stuck living with his parents and feeling helpless about most things. And it was bad enough that I stopped eating almost entirely and barely functioned as a human being.

Before you say that I was just a whiny girl, keep in mind that I wanted to care about at least some of normal, regular, everyday things. But I just couldn't because it took all I had some days just to get out from under the covers, get dressed, and grab food that was sitting three steps away. I never wanted to hurt myself, I just couldn't seem to take care of myself either.

Depression didn't care that I was only a few months away from spending almost 24-7 with Ace again. Depression didn't care that I was finally starting to be more financially stable. Depression didn't care that my life wasn't truly getting worse (except the parts where my father-in-law was trying to sexually harass me, claiming it was to show me love, but that is a totally different topic). Depression didn't care about any of that. It just wanted to suck me down into it's seedy undertow.

And there have been times that just something less than good happening on some random day that depression has tried to suck me into it's midst. And while you might feel like that's me being somewhat entitled and stuck up, it's been about stupid things that have only minorly inconvenienced us. Things that didn't matter in the long run. Because depression didn't care that it was stupid and annoying more than anything else. It had found a foothold and wanted to drag me down.

If you ever have someone you care about tell you that they are depressed, please don't tell them to get over it. Please don't act like they can just choose to become happy again. Tell them that you care and you want to do anything you can to help. Tell them that it's good that they got out of bed and got dressed, because those things can be big accomplishments when you are depressed. Tell them that you are willing to listen or help them find professional help. Be willing to listen and help them find professional help. And for God's sake, don't act like it's not important that they are hurting and needing help. Don't treat their statements as light. If they are telling you, they feel safe with you and they want to confide in you and probably get help. If they tell you they've thought about hurting themselves or committing suicide, take them seriously. Help them help themselves and be willing to help them get serious help. Because it is a cry for help.

I considered asking for help last year. I knew that what I was feeling and how I was living was not healthy, but I didn't have anyone I trusted around me to help. Despite that, I did get better. Mostly because Ace got to take some time off and that helped tremendously. I had something to do each week that helped me focus on other people and that helped. But it was not the way I wanted to get better. I deserved better and so does everyone else who is hurting. Because those commercials about depression meds are right about one thing; depression hurts. And it hurts others to see the effects of depression on someone they love (at least it seems to hurt Ace when I'm hurting).

If you are depressed, please remember that it does get better. Sometimes it needs help, but it does get better. If someone you care about is depressed, please help them through until it gets better. Sometimes, that some of the help that is needed.

And no matter what, don't tell someone to just get over it. That never works.
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