Sunday, January 15, 2012

Afflicted

Definitions of "depression"

Psychiatry a condition of general emotional dejection andwithdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than thatwarranted by any objective reason

depressed  or sunken place or part; an area lower than thesurrounding surface.

Both work when talking about the state of our minds and lives.

There are so many amazing people using Google Plus. Someone there was brave enough to announce his personal battles with depression. Another person remarked that "Silence is deadly." So I am speaking following example and speaking out here about my own battle. (Not that regular readers probably haven't guessed at it before!)

I don't really know how to address the issue except to point out some things I have noticed:

  • My depression is mine and no one else's. I don't understand it fully and I can't expect others to understand it with or for me.
  • I don't need people to understand it. I just need them to accept me with my depression and it's weight.
  • Some people feel that depression is just a bad mood that a person can "snap out of." 
  • Being depressed is not the worst part of this battle. Trying to pretend I am not depressed is the worst part. Trying to appear "normal" and "happy" when I am not.
  • Depression for me is sometimes a force of  sudden "Un-ness."  Un-expected, un-controllable, un-explainable, un-definable tears and grief and ground-opening-up-beneath emotional terror. There is a sense of being un-tethered from life, un-loved, un-lovable, un-needed, un-able, un-salvageable. 
  • Depression for me is a sense of complete alone-ness. For long moments (minutes, hours, days...), I will feel as if I am locked in glass walls of sadness while I can see other people moving on around me, living their lives so normally while normal is not something I can comprehend at the time.
  • When depressed, I am not only sad but disappointed that others cannot see my pain. The things they do and say that have such profound impact on me - it means nothing to them because the can't understand my depression.
Maybe that explains it all somewhat. Maybe not.

Part of my depression is due to my Sarcoidosis. I was in a period of depression for months before I was diagnosed. It seems to have gotten worse with the raging of the Sarc. I think that some of my depression is due to the disease itself and some is due to my dealing with the disease. I don't know if that makes sense, but having the disease is one thing in a physical way and another thing is a daily living way.

Since I have been diagnosed, some people treat me as though I am less than I was before. Less smart, less capable, less human, less real, less worthy. God forbid I have a mood swing and get grumpy. This disease gives some people an excuse to be cruel and superior. But in a very nice and loving kind of way, mind you.

Depression is tough, but so is life. Depression is part of my life so I treat it as such. I am lucky to have an understanding and truly compassionate doctor and a best friend who deserves wings and a halo. They keep me steady (for the most part) and constantly repair me when I break myself into mental pieces and the rest of the world steps on those pieces. 

If you know someone who you think might be depressed, pray for them. Try to approach the subject of their getting help. Make it easy for them to open up. It's okay for you not to understand the depression; you can still love the person. And don't let their smiles fool you. No one can appear happier than a person who is about to drown in depression. 

Peace
--Free

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