Depression comes in many forms. The picture most people have in their heads when they think of depression is a person who lays in bed all day, in the dark and crying. But that’s not the only way depression presents itself. For people suffer from depression and don’t fit that image.
Depression is a withdrawal from activities that the person usually loves. Painting, reading, writing, hanging out with friends, going on bike rides, etc,.
Depression is indifference and fatigue. It’s sitting on a couch watching a comedy and barely cracking a smile. It’s plastering a smile on your face so that those closest to you are fooled into thinking you are okay.
Depression is quick mood changes. It’s being fine one moment and then suddenly feeling the weight of all the hurt in the world on your chest and contemplating suicide because, my goodness, it feels like things will never get better, and like there is only one way out.
Depression is isolating. It feels like no one is willing or able to help you. It’s like lurking in the shadows of your own conscience and watching everyone you know pass by, going on with their lives. Sometimes, they may notice something different about you, that something is wrong and you finally catch a glimmer of hope. Like a beacon far off in the hazy distance, something you can travel towards. But then that person looks away, and continues on with their day. That beacon disappears, and everything is dark again.
When I was formally diagnosed with depression I felt a jolt of relief. I felt like those words on a piece of paper finally validated how I had been feeling, it freed me from the depths of darkness for a bit. Those words were going to be my golden ticket but instead of the chocolate factory it was a train. When I got to the train, I went up to the conductor and handed them my ticket, a broad smile on my face. But they don’t welcome me aboard. No. They shake their head and rip up my ticket. My golden ticket. They don’t believe that I am depressed. I don’t fit into the picture in their head of what depression looks like.
Some days I am fine and depression doesn’t have me in its hold. There are days though when it is wrapped around my neck and I can barely breathe but I still get up and I still go through my day. I engage in conversations with people; I go to class and study. I read and I write. My point is this;
It isn’t a tattoo, or the chicken pox. It’s not going to show up on a person’s skin. Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there and doesn’t mean someone isn’t struggling.
In a world with so much distrust, it’s hard having a mental illness and being “high functioning” because even those closest to you don’t believe that you are, indeed, sick. On my bad days, I am at a constant risk of being thought of as lazy. It hurts to live this way, and on occasion it makes me wish that I fit into that not-so-pretty little picture people have in their heads of depression. However, then I come to my senses because although I would have acceptance in that scenario, I would be missing out on so many other things that I love. It’s when I come to my senses that I realize it’s not me that has to change, it’s everyone else.
That, I can see.