According to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people suffer from it globally, and many more go undiagnosed. Some suffer from mild depression, while others have what’s known as “clinical depression” which is the more permanent and severe cases. Depression can be caused by a number of factors, including job loss, family death, medications, and many other causes. It can last days, weeks, months, or even years depending on the person.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression my freshmen year of high school. I don’t know what the exact cause was, but a number of things happened in my life, and before I knew it, even just getting up in the morning was a daily struggle. Like a lot of people, I used to think depression wasn’t really a disorder, but more of just an emotion that you could shake off if you wanted to. Growing up I had a great childhood, and the thought of being even mildly depressed never really entered my mind. Whenever I would meet someone who was depressed, it’s not that I didn’t believe them, but I couldn’t fathom the feeling. How could someone be sad or numb all the time when life is full of happiness and joy?
Speaking from personal experience, I can say that you really can’t relate to depression unless you have gone through an episode or have been diagnosed as clinically depressed. The feelings that you get can be very overwhelming at times, to the point that personally, I’ve had to turn to medication and/or therapy to get my life back on track. I don’t think depression should be seen as a weakness, but more of an obstacle. People like myself who have been or are currently dealing with depression can do everything that happy people can do, we just struggle sometimes to find the motivation to do them, or we don’t get the same enjoyment that a normal person would.
Here are 5 confessions from someone who is depressed:
1. Please don’t say “Just cheer up.” While these are not in order, this might be the thing that helps people who are depressed the least. If it was just a matter of “cheering up,” we would do that. People spend thousands of dollars on depression-related treatments because it’s just not that simple. We want to feel happy again, but chemical imbalances and overwhelming thoughts cloud our brain to the point where we just can’t.
2. It’s very hard to describe the feeling. If you can try to imagine feeling nothing, while having zero motivation to do anything, that might begin to scratch the surface on what it feels like. It can feel like you are trapped in the cage of your own mind, but you know you have the key, you just can’t find it. People ask you what you are feeling, and you might have a different answer each time, because it can be hard to pinpoint.
3. Our sympathy and empathy can be skewed. A lot of times someone who is depressed struggles to connect with people, as they have a hard enough time trying to understand themselves. When I was depressed, it was hard to feel happy or sad for someone, because I was barely having any feeling at all to begin with.
4. Loneliness becomes comfortable. You may know someone who has been depressed, so to try and help them, you might of invited them out somewhere, or tried to get them out of the house. The problem with this is when you are depressed, you spend a lot of time alone and by yourself, which eventually becomes comfortable. What’s worse is sometimes when you do force yourself to go out and interact with people, you feel even more lonely because you realize no one really knows how your feeling, and they wouldn’t understand even if you told them.
5. We can be very good at hiding it. It is human nature to try and hide our flaws, and depression is no different. People who are depressed usually develop a shield that allows them to keep their depression a secret from other people. In today’s society, some people are masters at this, to the point where they can be depressed for years and no one has a clue.
Depression is something that almost everyone goes through, but not everyone recovers from. For a lot of us, it is constantly in the back of our minds, waiting to show itself in our most vulnerable or grieving moments. While many see it as a curse, I personally see it as a blessing. I can tell you from experience that when you are alone for long periods of time, you learn a lot about yourself, things that you may not have noticed before. I also have developed an intelligence about myself that I know when I’m just generally sad about something, or I know that what I’m feeling is the beginning of a depression-like episode. This “intelligence” helps me put things into perspective, which I think is the greatest gift depression has given me.
Author: Max Conroy