1. Having to decide whether to tell people I have depression, force myself to smileyface, or just retreat from human interaction. A person with depression only has these three options when dealing with other humans, all all three options are shitty for their own oh-so-special reasons.
2. When I tell people that I have depression and their reaction is something like “yeah, you and everybody else”. Maybe its true, maybe it really is that common and most people are depressed in one way or another. And the flippant attitude towards finding out a person is depressed is never going to help anyone. Actual “my brain chemicals are all wonky messed up, and that bird just pooped on my head, and now I’m going in the house to lay on the couch and I’m not even gonna get that bird poop off my head first because I can’t even give a shit” depression does affect a lot of people, its true. I am inclined to think that anyone with the “you and everybody else” attitude does not have to deal with the reality of depression or maybe they are depressed and have no support. Either way, when someone else says “I have depression”, acting like its not a big deal because supposedly everyone else has it too is only going to make things worse. If you can’t be supportive, then shut yo mouth.
3. Telling other people I have depression and they see it as an open invitation to hand out advice on how I should live my life or how I am living my life the wrong way. The only reason I tell people I have depression is because they are more than acquaintances, which will inevitably lead to them noticing changes in my mood so its best to just get it out of the way. Plus I have a small glimmer of hope that if they know about my depression that it will lead them to be a bit more understanding and empathetic towards me. That doesn’t happen too often. Most commonly it leads to people feeling entitled to tell me everything I am doing wrong, or how simply the depression would disappear if I only stood on my head and took deep breathes through my anus. If you honestly think that I have not sat around and obsessively, uncontrollably, thought about every possible thing I could be doing wrong which might be causing the depression or tried every possible route to make it go away then you are clueless AND you’re a condescending ass. Don’t tell depressed people how to not be depressed, it makes you look like a douchefart.
4. Feeling guilty about feeling depressed which leads to feeling more depressed. There are countless horrible things happening in the world. Hell, there are probably plenty of people in my neighborhood that have worse shit happening in their lives. But here I am, having depression. I know I can’t help it, I know its not my fault that I’m this way, and I am thankful for the days when I can be forgiving of myself for being depressed. When I am not forgiving of myself, the guilt will start to lead to self-hating thoughts. I have never felt suicidal, but I often wonder if it is the feelings of guilt and self-hate that lead to thoughts of suicide in others. If you are feeling that way and you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can send me a message or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. For a much better picture of depression and the cycle of guilt, check out Hyperbole and A Half’s very funny and insightful Adventures in Depression.
5. Big Pharma conspiracy theories, and natural treatment suggestions. Yes, I take pharmaceuticals to treat the depression. Of course medication does not cure depression, we are still learning about human neuroscience and we have a long way to go, but I feel extremely fortunate that I live in a time and place where pharmaceuticals are available to me. I am not cured, but I feel a million times better than I did before the medication. I put off medications for YEARS of my life that I cannot get back because of the guilt mongering of the people who advocate for the “natural methods” in treating depression. Healthy diet and exercise DO NOT cure depression, you bloody idiots! “But have you tried making fruit and vegetable smoothies? Here’s what you do – make the smoothie, then put some of the smoothie into these capsules (natural, not synthetic, obviously!), then insert those capsules into your butt. Or you can be really aggressive about your treatment and give yourself fruit smoothie colonics once a week. Kick it up another notch by creating a circle out of magnets around your body, place two crystals in your nostrils, stand on one foot (gotta keep one foot on the ground to make sure you’re grounded to the Earth, duh), and hold a copper wire over your head. Hold that smoothie in your butt as long as you can. Then release. You will be rid of your depression in no time.” Fuck you, fuck off, you think you are helping but you are causing so much damage with your “naturalistic” bullshit. You are essentially blaming the depressed person for their affliction, and minimizing the seriousness of the situation. Go fuck yourself in the butt with your fruit smoothie capsules.
I am not going to be one of those asshole that presumes to know the correct way of treating every incidence of depression, medication may not be the route for everyone. Don’t take my word or the word of anyone else as truth. If you are depressed you should talk to a professional, like a medical doctor and/or a licensed therapist about the right method of treatment for you.
7. Being a happy, positive person who is trapped by depression. I have so much joy inside of me, I truly and sincerely love life. Comedy is my favourite thing in the whole world, and laughter is my favourite past time. I enjoy the beauty of nature, I marvel at the wonders of the universe, and watching kids use their imagination is inspiring. Depression is like a lead cloud that seeks out my positivity, and envelops it. My positivity is strong though, its always fighting back. Some days it is winning, some days it is losing. So I keep trying different medication combos, continue with therapy techniques, and surround myself in as much happy thing and as much positivity as possible in hopes that the depression will lose more often than it wins.
Depression comes with many different faces and forms, it does not always look like the stereotype that we see on TV. Even if you are not experiencing depression, it is worth it to learn more in case someone you love needs your support.