Welcome to the deepest and darkest, yet most genuine part of who I am. How many times have I faked a smile? Too many to count.
This mood that I can’t shake off is my most intimate relationship. The people around me don’t understand, unless they have been there themselves. Just move on, be stronger, don’t dwell, forget about the past, live in the present; all of these phrases repeated as though there is some simple solution to such devastation.
Despair is more than a word; it is a state of mind with sadness on overdrive. If I could just move on or forget about it all, I would have done it years ago. You must understand I have felt such guilt, sorrow, grief and terrible sadness for my entire life. When someone suggests to just change that about myself, it means I can no longer identify with myself.
This state of mind literally becomes my identity. They say you are not your disorder. If depression is all you know, how can you be something else? How can you be someone that you are not? It’s like asking me to put on a mask and then wondering why you can’t see my face.
If you have felt depression at any time of your life, you know that it is impossible for you to just snap out of it.
I identify with despair. I do not even know how to feel the emotion happiness. I genuinely do not know what it feels like. If I have a tiny glimpse of happiness, then I feel guilty for indulging in such frivolous acts. This guilt is a product of hyper-vigilance. This guilt is a product of observing the society around me. Some people might say you are just focusing on the negative, there is so much positive in this world. This may be true, but I ask what are we doing to rid our world of negative?
When I look around me, at this world, I see sadness, evil prevailing over kindness, starvation, greed, disasters and mass amounts of torturing the human spirit. The majority of crime and evil not only exists, but also thrives.
A lot of times people look at depression as a weakness or someone who lacks will power. This is far from true. If it were truly a weakness, evolution would have seeded it out centuries ago. There is some reason why depression has evolved with the human condition. Depression is a means of solving problems. It’s a coping skill of numbing all emotions so the individual does not feel happiness or sadness. It’s a way of protection. It’s a survival mechanism for the highly sensitive individual who literally relates to all suffering. The depressed mind and thought process becomes a very poor coping method of solving problems.
Asking me to not feel depressed is equivalent to asking me to care less about human suffering. I do not know all of the solutions to the world’s problems, but I do know that we must do something to make it better. We must do something. I feel too often that humans just accept their situation as is and do not have a desire to make things better. They believe if it is not broken then do not fix it. With change comes opportunity. We should always be trying to improve our situation. Thus, as an individual with depression, I have the desire to want improvement in our society without the tools. I want to reach out to the starving child or homeless man in a way to help them.
I am not asking you to feel such sadness every day. I am asking for acceptance and for all to understand that depression is not a choice. No one would ever willingly decide to feel so much pain. People make rash judgments; they think since depression is not physical that it must not be real. However, mental illness is just as real as any physical illness because it is a medical condition. If you have felt depression at any time of your life, you know that it is impossible for you to just snap out of it.
I am not asking you to feel such sadness every day. I am asking for acceptance and for all to understand that depression is not a choice.
For the people who do not struggle with depression, I ask for your acceptance and understanding. For the people who have struggled with depression, may you find solace, may you realize that no matter how lonely you feel, you are not alone; you are not the only one.