I know it's December and people supposed to be joyful and happy, but that is not always the case. And before you start in on me for comparing a mental/mood disorder with cancer, just hear me out!
Chronic Depression is like a cancer of the mind and soul. It eats away at all the good parts leaving nasty gray spots of sadness and anger. It doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care what time of year it is. What it does do is affect every single aspect of your life, without giving any f*cks about it. Once it's started, it can feed on itself, getting stronger and stronger until it consumes your whole being, making you a shadow of the person you once were (or the person you present on the outside).
Depression exaggerates every emotion you have. It makes you overthink things, going straight to the worst case scenario most of the time. You blame yourself for everything bad that has ever happened to you, and you "just know" that nothing will ever go well for you ever again because you just suck so much a life. You go over and over what you could have done to make things better, but you know that thinking about it doesn't make it better, it doesn't change things, but you do it anyways. And doing that makes you feel even worse about yourself and the choices you've made. Because you suck at life, remember?
It can be fatal. So many people who decide to end their lives experienced depression before doing so.
What sucks the most, in my opinion, is that sometimes you can remember what it was like to be happy. When you do, you feel guilty for not being happy right now. I was talking to my mom about this and I was telling her all the great things I have going for me and how grateful I am for everything I have. And you know what she said? "Grateful doesn't always mean happy." Those words resonated so deep within me and got me thinking about things I didn't really want to think about, but really needed to think about.
Grateful doesn't always mean happy. And depression is like cancer.
I was officially diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in 2012, but I suffered long before then. It's been a constant battle for most of my teenage years and all of my adulthood, and it will continue to be a battle for the rest of my life. It took me a long time to admit I had a problem, because I didn't want to be that "crazy" person who had to take pills and go to therapy to be able to get through life. That negative stigma around depression and it's treatments kept me from getting help for a very long time. AND THAT IS WRONG.
It wasn't until a huge breakdown while sitting in my car in a Target parking lot hysterically ugly crying on the phone to my mom that I finally decided I was not ok, and I needed to do something about it. My doctor put me on an antidepressant and a few months later I started therapy. I saw a huge difference in myself after about 6 months, so did my mom and my friends.
Since then I've been on and off medication and in and out of therapy (not by choice, meds and therapy cost money and I went through some hard times). I could tell when I was "off the wagon" for too long. It sucked. Like really bad. But for the past 18 months, I've been mostly stable and able to control my depression with medication and regular therapy. It's not easy. AT. ALL. But it's worth it.
There is no cure for depression. None. Zip. Zero. Just like cancer. There is only an array of treatments, some of which work and some that don't. Just like cancer. It's not a choice. You can't "just get over it" and it's not "all in your head". Just like cancer. You need a support system, and a good doctor (and popsicles don't hurt either). Just like cancer.
Depression is a cancer of the mind and soul. And no one should be made to feel ashamed, guilty, scared, or judged because they suffer from it. Just. Like. Cancer.
If you are considering suicide or going through a rough time, please seek help.
You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255,
or you can text the Crisis Text Line by texting "Go" to 741-741 to text with a counsellor.
or you can always reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All life is precious.