Just because a depressed person is happy doesn’t mean they’re not depressed.
Just because a depressed person experiences happiness doesn’t make them a ‘bad’ depressed person.
Just because a depressed person has a good day doesn’t mean they’re not depressed.
Just because a depressed person is doing well one day doesn’t mean they’ll be doing well the next day.
Keep these in mind.
mental illness is constantly either demonized or romanticized by society and there is no space in that dichotomy for real people with mental illness to exist without feeling shamed and invalidated and that isn’t fair
The problem with a history of depression and anxiety is that you can never know if you’re “just having one of those weeks” or if you’re sliding back down into those places you swore you’d never go again.
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged."
It always gets better. So often, I forget that. Strange, since I can so easily forget how bad it can be, that in moments of clarity I assure myself that this is it, that nothing could be so heavy and debilitating as the darkness that so often took me.
No, I was good at forgetting. At repressing, pushing back feelings and darkness until it all became too much and I was drowning in it. It was a talent that I didn’t often realize I had. A talent that I also felt was keeping me alive.
It’s said that without darkness there is no light, that sadness exists because without it happiness would be less sweet. I’ve always believed that, heart and soul, but I never realized that I wasn’t living it. I might think I know happiness, but the sadness and screaming I push down so hard keep company with the ecstasy I could be feeling. The raw emotions I fear.
Because that is the only thing I do know: fear, the constant, creeping, choking sensation that I am so close to failing, to the whole world collapsing in, losing me everything. It is why I cling so fiercely to the people around me. I cannot conceive of a way they would want to stay, so I dig in hooks, hoping that in my desperation pity will breed loyalty.
It blinds me to love, to kindness, to praise. Even in the moments when I cling to the memory of a smile, a kind comment or a hug, I can feel it slipping away, running through my fingers, so that soon I am once again the despairing hopeless mess I feel I am destined to be.
What is it I truly crave? Acceptance, perhaps. But even in the face of it I am blind to it. Sometimes I think that it is release that I seek. Release from the responsibilities and pressures that I have internalized, so that I see myself as nothing without them. If I do not give all that have, asking nothing in return, then I do not deserve my place in life, do not deserve the people who keep me company or comfort me with soft words when I finally cry out for help.
I want to be able to see. To feel. I must learn to let go of the wall I use to split myself in pieces, to protect me from my own emotions. I endeavor to feel, so that I might someday know what it means to love, not only others, but to truly love myself.