Then again, unless you're one of the 350 million people in the world (that was in 2012 by the way) who has or is experiencing depression, you may not understand what I'm saying. Keep reading though, because it's long past time that we talked about this. This is not a minor problem. It thrives when ignored, it festers when you try to hide from it, and it absolutely destroys lives. If you're dealing with depression, keep reading because I want you to know something of utmost importance.
I suffer from depression. There is fear in those four words. Fear that I'll be rejected, laughed at, mocked, thought less of. There is anxiety or worry in those four words. Worry that a boss will see this and "let me go" or pass my resume by. Worry that friends or family won't want to be around me. Worry I can't hold down a job. Worry I'm a burden or an inconvenience. Worry my marriage will fall apart. Worry that people will think I'm just crying for attention. There is anger in those four words. Anger at myself for not being able to fix this problem by myself. There is anger that there is something horrifically wrong, but I don't know what it is or how to stop it. There is shame in those four words. What's the matter with me? Am I too weak, broken, defective, or just doing something flat out wrong? All that and more, much more, is in those four simple words.
Depression isn't easily seen. You can't see it as you do a cut or look at it on an x-ray. It's just way too damn easy to overlook it or mistake it for something else. So it often gets minimized or disregarded, even by those afflicted by it. Would you tell a burn victim to "shake it off"? Would you tell a soldier with a gunshot wound to "Get over it"? Of course not, you'd never say that because people would think you cruel or heartless. Sadly, when it comes to depression (or any mental illness for that matter), it's all too common to hear, "Shake it off.", "You have so much to be happy for.", "What's your problem?". It seems that most people don't understand.
Now I could start pulling medical studies, quoting books, listing statistics, or hell, use colorful graphs, trying to explain depression. Maybe I will do that in future posts. Right now though, for my first post, I'm just going to give you the raw me. I'm going to try to describe to you what my depression is like. It's my hope, and greatest desire that you'll read this and either come away enlightened and maybe a better person or if nothing else, you'll know you are not alone. So here it goes....
To say that I am just sad is like saying, Ghengis Khan might have dabbled in real estate. I struggle. I struggle because there is a part of me that says I AM WORTHLESS. I am a burden to those around me. No one could possibly want to be near me. I can't do anything right. I'm stupid. Everything is all my fault. I'm ugly. Nothing I do matters. I'm useless. This will never change. I am alone. These thoughts are quieter than any whisper. It's difficult to even notice them. But oh god, I FEEL them! These thoughts hurt. Pain, as real as any gunshot wound. So much pain that some days I can't even get out of bed. Even the most basic of tasks such as bathing or eating seem overwhelming if not entirely futile. Now imagine this going on for years. Can you imagine it? No? Perhaps then the best way to describe it then is simply this:
I write this because it's time everyone started talking about this. The problem exists. It's real and, most importantly, there is hope. I plan to document my struggles and my journey to recovery. I hope you come with me.