“It’s hopeless. It will never get better.”
“You have become a burden to everyone you love. They would be better off without you.”
“You should be able to snap out of this. Why don’t you? What is wrong with you? You are really pathetic, you should give up now.”
“If this is how life is going to be, do you really want to keep on?”
“There is no use trying. You are just going to fail again and again. It’s better to just learn to live with being miserable.”
All lies. But oh, they are so convincing.
I have been fighting depression for months now. It has taken its toll on me and on my loved ones. Depression is a real monster because it uses your brain’s logical and rational side to make things worse. It tells you that you should be able to be happy; that it is your fault for being weak; that it’s all just something you’ve made up and you are less of a person for not being able to overcome it.
It causes you to lash out at those who love you and only want to help. It makes you feel ashamed. You don’t want to tell people you are depressed, yet you want them to understand why you are behaving so very unlike yourself.
For me, the worst part is that those who know me know that I have a beautiful life. I mean yeah, I’m not wealthy. I have money problems. I have been dealing with the serious illness of two loved ones. But as a whole, my life is really, really full of love and beauty. And that makes the shame and guilt about depression so much worse.
“What the hell do you have to be sad about? You are completely broken and worthless if you can’t be happy with this life.”
Some of you may be confused, because you have seen me in the past few months, and I’ve seemed just fine. Laughing, smiling, making jokes, being loving and affectionate. And those things were not faked; I have felt happiness, love, affection; even joy and bliss. Being depressed doesn’t always put one in a state of constant sadness. It manifests itself in many ways, and isn’t always on the surface. You probably interact with many depressed people daily and have no idea. Depression can hide. But it’s still there, waiting to remind you that the joy you just felt is fleeting.
“Those moments aren’t real life. Real life is struggle and pain. The fleeting moments of joy are just there to remind you of what you can’t really have, ever.”
Well-meaning friends and loved ones try to help. They suggest exercise, diet changes, pharmaceuticals, therapy. They desperately and lovingly ask “What is it going to take?”
The problem is that when depression has you in its clutches, it holds your motivation hostage. And it is a powerful captor. You just don’t have the drive, energy, or even the desire to get better. You start to feel angry, because part of you wants to want to get better. But you just can’t gather the energy to give a damn. You feel like you owe it to your loved ones to try. But you just can’t. Because you don’t feel like you owe it to yourself to try.
“Because you are worthless.”
But the important thing to remember is this:
I am trying to recover. I think I must be starting to recover, because my motivation is beginning to return. I’m getting back to the gym. I’m paying attention to what foods I’m putting in my body. I’m going out and being social.
I’m blogging again.
But I’m still struggling. I’m still fighting to keep that inner voice alive that says No, that is a lie. I will not accept that. I’m still weak and prone to believe the lies. I’m still having a lot of sadness and rage and anxiety and hopelessness. But I am fighting it. I am fighting it now, and that is a step forward.
Thank you to all those who have suffered through this with me. I am sorry that I don’t always have the ability to show you how much you really mean to me. My depression lies to you, too. Thank you for staying by my side, and not believing the lies. I love you.