I saw an article on Pinterest today from Spark and clicked over to read it.
"The Hidden Signs of Depression"
Subtitled: Sadness isn't the only symptom.
I am annoyed. Overall the article is great. It outlines the symptoms of depression in a real life "If my friend told me x, y, and z, I'd take her to a medical professional myself" kind of scenario, which is great. It also outlines some of the more subtle signs of depression like lack of energy, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and chronic pain. It is truly a very well rounded article that I'm certain has and will continue to help a lot of people.
But I find myself annoyed. Out of a purely selfish and Mouse-colored-glasses way. I rarely characterize my depression as sad. When I first realized that what I felt every day was "more than just a little sad" it was paradigm-shifting. Realizing that and the subsequent realizations finally put me on a path to meds and counseling, but that path took way too many years. In part I think this may have been because I *wasn't* sad therefore not depressed. I had started to see the commercials about depression and, for a very long time, thought "Oh those poor sad people." It took way too long for me to realize that for me depression isn't feeling sad, depression isn't feeling. Not feeling much of anything at all. I said in one of my previous posts I can repeat for hours "I DON'T CARE" in my mind. And I don't. In those times I truly don't care.
I don't care if the dishes get done.
I don't care how long those socks lay on the floor of my living room.
I don't care how high the junk mail and nonsense is piled on my coffee table.
I don't care how long that bowl of last week's supper sits on the end table.
I don't care if I spend the entire night playing Candy Crush.
I don't care if I'm up too late to be well-rested for work.
I don't care.
I remember a friend at my last church finally had her Baby Girl. She had 3 boys and at least 4-5 miscarriages trying to get that little girl and finally it happened. And she hit the post partum wall HARD afterwards. I gave a testimony in front of the congregation about something God had helped me with having to do with my apathy in depression. I remember her walking up to me after church and asking "So, for you, depression is more about not feeling anything?" I was able to talk with her and help her feel more normal about her feelings, or lack thereof, and encourage her to seek medical help, to ignore the morons telling her that "that dosage of meds is so small it can't possibly help anyway, so you should just stop taking it", and to remember that as long as none of the kids are putting their finger in a light socket, all she is required to do is breathe. Because sometimes that's all you can manage.
And I wonder how many of us are walking around like zombies, not feeling much of anything and not even realizing that life can be different. Because for years I had no idea that everyone didn't walk around in a daze, with a mind that absolutely does not ever stop or slow down, and an anxiety about almost every personal interaction they come across, and hit their home at the end of the work day and nearly collapse because they just have nothing left. I had no idea everyone wasn't like that.
I also, oddly enough, could not for the life of me figure out how so many of my friend and acquaintances could get so d-mn much done every friggin day! I could barely drag myself through a work day much less clean the house and make supper and write a book and craft a scarf and god knows what else they were doing that was just so far beyond me I could not wrap my brain around it.
So I wonder, how many other people are doing the same thing as I did for years. Walking around half in a daze. Thinking that they don't care about (insert whatever you want here). Barely keeping their living space livable, maybe even barely keeping their job. And have no idea that some would call that depression and there are medications that might help. They have no idea that life can be different. That there is an alternative to the way they currently live. And that makes me so incredibly sad and angry. Because I know how long it took ME to seek help, and it was WAY too long. I can't even imagine what my life would look like now if I'd realized in college, or high school, or middle school when my mom offered to take me to a counselor!!, that my body chemistry was off and there were options for correcting it.
So I write. I write when these thoughts occur to me. I write when I can't hold it in anymore. I vent and brain-dump my frustrations and anger. I write my truth as clearly and detailed as I possibly can. Because if I can help ONE other person seek help before I finally sought help, I am happy. If I can help one Christian see that yes God can heal us from anything, but if he hasn't healed you from this yet, maybe it's time to seek medical intervention, I am happy. If I can help one other person be honest in their world and say "I am depressed and this is what that looks like for me, and there is nothing for me to be ashamed of in saying this," I am happy.
I'm tired of the stigma. And I'm going to keep writing until the stigma is gone.