Do you or someone you know suffer from depression? It’s a cruel disease! I’m not talking about general sadness, but the depression that comes from a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s a lot more common than I once thought and when you are in the middle of a depressive episode it can feel like you are the only one in the world feeling this way!
I started to feel it coming on yesterday, and it has progressed today to the point of me crying over every little thing. Let me just add that I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I have been diagnosed with major depression and panic disorder, and I have been to therapy and take medication for it. I am SO much better at handling it than I used to be. I have learned that it is temporary and the feelings of utter hopelessness will pass and not to listen to the lies that my brain tries to feed me when I am in this state.
One lie that always accompanies my depressive episodes is that “I am not good enough.” Another is “I am worthless.” These two seem to be the most recurring thoughts that I have. While I know that it is a lie and I will feel better in a few days, my brain is a powerful thing, and depression will do its best to bring me to my knees or more likely keep me in bed under the covers filled with self-loathing and as my therapist once said, “Awfulizing” everything.
It’s a cruel disease as I said and if you suffer yourself or know someone who does, a kind word or listening ear could help more than you know. It’s easy to just ignore people or judge them or even say things like, “What do you have to be sad about?” or “Pull yourself together.” Trust me, if we could pull ourselves together we would! No one wants to feel like this. We didn’t ask to have this disease anymore than someone with cancer or diabetes asked for it.
On the same note, a harsh word or worse, not believing depression is a real disease, is enough to send someone spiraling downward. Once that spiraling starts, it’s often tough to climb back up. We start to believe every bad thing our brain tells us, and for some, we even contemplate putting an end to it all. We are not being selfish, in fact, its the exact opposite. We don’t want to hurt or be hurt anymore and feel like a burden to those we love. We also cannot remember how it feels to be happy and doubt that we ever have been. This is another lie of course, but like I said, the brain is a powerful thing!
Be kind to someone who suffers from depression. If you don’t know what to say or do, it’s better to say or do nothing than to inflict more pain. What works for one person may not work for everyone, so your advice about “You need to pray more”, or “You should go for a walk”, will more than likely fall on dead ears. We don’t need advice nearly as bad as we need kindness and support. Someone to believe what we feel is real and that we are not less of a person because of it. Let us know you still love us, still want to be our friend, and still find us valuable.