Sometimes It Rains
I have depression. There. I said it.
I have depression. Clinical depression. There. I said it. I have depression. It doesn’t mean you should feel sorry for me. You shouldn’t. Depression doesn’t define me or dominate my life in any way. It does, however, lurk in the recesses always ready to slither out.
Now, I’m a private person and only disclose this on an “need to know” basis. Outside of my family, I suspect maybe a dozen people know it’s something I have. I suspect more now.
There are just too many stigma’s around depression and mental illness. One of the easiest ways to break them is to talk about it. For me, I just never felt comfortable doing so but the older I’ve gotten, the less I care. While my experience is special and unique only to myself, my story is one of living with a disease. I’ve never let depression determine my life but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t at times have an impact.
That said, I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it, depression just a tiny part of me.
Depression is such a pesky and pervasive disease, I’ve no doubt you’re one degree of separation from someone who either has, or struggles with, clinical depression (while similar, situational depression is powerful too, but I have no experience with it).
For the ignorant, depression is a disease the same way any other disease is. When the depression is active, it’s not that someone is “down” or “in a funk”; to the person in the throes of it, it’s much more powerful.
Depression manifests itself differently, and to different degrees, in every person. To mitigate it by saying, “snap out of it” or “lighten up” is incredibly dismissive, insulting and reductive. No, you probably don’t need to treat them with kid gloves, you simply need to be cognizant, at least, and empathetic, at best.
A simple “I’m here” helps. Try it.
Because the disease is different for everyone, I can’t pretend to know, and won’t speculate, what struggles everyone else has. I can honestly say that I’ve stood at the same terrible precipice and have had the same ugly thoughts of suicide. I get it.
For whatever reason, each time, I decided to step away from the edge where many did not. For those that take that last step, that’s not a sign of weakness; it’s just a sign that the disease won.
That’s an important distinction. Some people survive and live with cancer, others do not. The same is true of depression.
As insidious as depression is, it’s treatable and, for many, manageable. But just as the manifestation of the disease differs, so does its treatment. There are a plethora of ways to combat depression and it doesn’t make you weak or threaten your identity to seek help in your battle.
I was first diagnosed a long time ago and tried all the medicine until I found one that worked for me. My treatment now entails talk therapy and medicine. One year ago, I did do a round of micro-dosing of LSD that had a positive and lasting effect (while I did discuss it with my therapist, this was neither encouraged nor discouraged).
If you need or want help, please, seek it. I understand the myriad of feelings you may have around depression but you can keep it private. It’s taken me 25 years to speak publicly about my battle with depression.
Depression is awful, but it is manageable if treated correctly. But a lot of that is going to be up to you and I admit, that’s hard. I’ve been at war with depression for awhile now and I may have lost a battle here and there, but I do believe I’m winning the war. And I’ll keep fighting that war. I can’t say why I do but I can say I’m glad I do.
If you find yourself standing at the awful precipice and looking out into the abyss, please take a deep breath and step back. Give it a day, and if not a day, an hour, and if not an hour, a minute, and if not a minute, give it a second because I promise you, it will get better. I know that to be true.
Suicide is not a sign of weakness; it’s the ultimate realization of depression as a disease.
Depression is a disease that doesn’t need to win.
Yes, sometimes it rains but behind the clouds there is always a little sunshine. It eventually pops through.