Please Don't Interrupt My Depression With Your Positive Thoughts
It's like feeling everything and nothing at all. It's knowing that doing something will help you feel better but you just don't know how. You want to be well, but you just can't seem to get there. It's wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely.
I want to open up the conversation and make depression (and all mental illness) less taboo and more, well, allowed.
Do you know someone who suffers from depression? You probably do but might not know it. Do you suffer from depression? Maybe you do. A LOT of us do. Whether you know someone or you are dealing with it yourself, I have a message for you...
It's OK to not be OK.
Please remember that whoever is depressed (you or someone you know) does not need to be "fixed." We aren't looking for attention or sympathy.
"Snap out of it."
"Well, life isn't fair sometimes."
"Have you tried x-y-z tea?"
"Oh I know how it feels."
"Things will get better."
Sometimes I wonder if people who don't have experience with depression really know - like really truly understand - how debilitating this disease can be. When someone you love has depression, saying the above things will not help. It will not "fix" them. But you know what can help? Reminding them why you love them. Reminding them that you aren't going anywhere. Reminding them that they matter.
It's important to do these things even on the days when the depression symptoms aren't as apparent. Some of us have been suffering from depressions for years, maybe even decades and are pretty good at burying the feelings and putting on a happy face.
Understand that depression isn't sadness. It's fatigue, disordered sleeping habits, inability to focus, lack of motivation, etc. and so much more.
So, please don't shame someone for being depressed. This is where I'm going with the whole "Don't Interrupt My Depression With Your Positive Thoughts" bit...
When a depression spell hits, it is nearly impossible for us to connect with positive, happy things. It's not that we are choosing to ignore the positive, but these things are just so inaccessible to us that we connect better with the negative emotions. It's like pulling up to the gas station to pump gas and realizing you forgot your wallet at home. You want it, you know you need it, but you just. can't. have it. You are stuck.
Validate. Validate. Validate.
I can't say it enough.
It is so hard when someone acts like what you are experiencing is not reality or that it is wrong. Validating someone's feelings, or lack of feeling, is one of the best ways to support the person you care about who is suffering from depression.
As a person who suffers with clinical depression and anxiety, I spend a lot of time managing my illness. It's exhausting. But I also realize that the people who love and support me are trying their best to support me. It takes a lot of patience to love someone with depression. I get it. I know it's hard. I know at times it's not fair.
Please know that if you are loving someone with depression that you are also loved and appreciated.
Always keeping it real,