Learn to live with depression before it can overtake you
I don’t know when depression moved into my life. I can’t pinpoint the exact time or date. I know that for most of my life I have been fighting it in one form or another. I even married a man who admitted not only to being depressed but having constant suicidal thoughts.
One of the biggest issues with depression is we don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want our family to know because they will worry. We don’t want our boss and/or Co-workers to know because it will affect the way they view our job performance. The crazy thing is, that most depressed people, are also very good at hiding it. They are funny, outgoing, personable, easy to get along with, etc.
People who talk about depression, who haven’t experienced it, will offer a good deal of advice on how to handle it. Many of these same people will tell you it is a ‘phase’ you are going through. What happens when the ‘phase’ lasts a lifetime?
Not a day or a month; years that turn into decades. Some of the funniest, most charismatic people around have had and/or live with depression. You don’t know it because they are ‘successful’. They have great jobs, they make great money, they inspire people. Life must be great, right?
Depression can be a passing phase. Not all depression is a life-sentence. We get depressed that we didn’t get a job. We get depressed that we lost something or ended a relationship. We wallow in self-pity with thoughts that eventually we climb out of.
Yet, there is another beast that goes by the same name. It moves in and never leaves. It is a constant companion that some learn to live with and hide in shame. After all what do I have to be depressed about? There must be something wrong with me since I feel this way most of the time. I can’t see the love and self-worth that other people see in me. I fail, even when I am successful in other people’s eyes.
I woke up this morning and felt like I didn’t want to get out of bed. This isn’t the first morning that I have felt this way and it won’t be the last. I constantly fight a state of depression and most people in my life have no clue. They know I go through blue periods. I am sad. I am lonely. I lost my husband. I have every reason to sink down into myself. According to them, it is okay, and I will get through it.
My truth is that I will get through it. I have learned to live with my depression by learning to ignore its voice, most of the time. This isn’t a foolproof method by any means. Yet, it works for me. Therapy is a great solution for so many people in this same situation. I am a big advocate of therapy as I know that it can really help especially when you are open to getting help.
The problem is: so many people don’t want to see a counselor or therapist or specialist or anyone. They don’t want to acknowledge that they are fighting this beast in their lives. They don’t want others to know how well they have developed the facade that is their lives. Depression can lead to suicidal tendencies. Suicide usually happens when a person is in a moment that they can’t see any other way out. That whatever has overwhelmed them in their lives at that moment has no solution. That everyone will be better off. It is often not something planned. It is a spur-of-the-moment decision. Which alters the lives of everyone who were a part of that life.
I am thankful that there are those who are speaking out about depression. That they are being honest and open about it; calling attention to this mental issue. And people who are speaking up about suicide; something that is happening too often.
Too often these two things go hand in hand. If we can deal with the problem of depression early on, then we stand more of a chance at saving lives. Depression may not be as easy for you as it is for someone else. We need to stop comparing our emotions and situations to others. Honestly, unless you live with someone 24/7 you do not understand what is going on in their lives. Even when you live with someone, people can be very good at hiding things, crying in the shower so you don’t see their tears.
Being funny to cover up their pain. So many comedians have admitted that they are good at what they do because of pain. We learn mechanisms that help us cope. The difference it can make having someone to talk to, who will not be judgmental, to get through the moments. Sometimes, if you can just hold on for a little longer when the wave of depression is covering you, it gives it enough time to pass. It is that one moment that can make all the difference. It helps to have good friends/family there for you, pulling you out of yourself, helping you with your real or imagined demons.
Depression and suicide have invaded my life on a very personal level. I learned to cope with my waves better than others. It doesn’t make me a better person. It doesn’t make me anything other than fortunate to have learned how to deal with those moments.
I don’t talk about it but I should. When you grow up in a world where you learn to not only control your “negative” emotions but to smile in the face of them; to not talk about them - over-coming long years of conditioning can be very difficult. It is one reason, I think until recently, the spotlight wasn’t shining on the very real issue of depression. There are a ton of articles on cause and effect. On how to deal with it in your life. Ways to overcome it.
There are a lot of services out there offered. Both paid for and free. If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. I encourage you to seek help. Talk to a friend, a counselor, a pastor/priest, a therapist. Please. Your life has so much value. The people who share your life value you. Trust me. Even if you think the world would be better off without you. It won’t. You are unique. There is no one else like you and no one has the same gifts to offer the universe.
Seeking guidance and help isn’t a weakness, it is a strength.