Having depression is more than just being sad. Being depressed isn’t as simple to fix as just being happy. When you tell people what you’re going through and they say it “surprises” them, a part of you is irritated because others are constantly telling you who you are and how to feel. You feel as though something must be wrong with you, or that it’s all in your head.
Depression makes you ashamed to admit you actually have it. Depression is wearing tinted glasses to view the world in one shade. You don’t want to leave your bed. You don’t want to answer your phone. You can’t do the things you love. You can’t find the source of your pain. Each day you live with it, the more normal it becomes until you forget what true happiness feels like.
You smile and laugh, but inside you hate yourself. You tell yourself you’re not suicidal, but sometimes the line gets blurry. You want to allow others to help you, yet how can they when you don’t even know how to process what’s going on in your head? You think you’re a burden and the world would be better without you.
Asking for help is the first step.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to have others help you. You have to help yourself. All the therapy and drugs in the world won’t “cure” you unless you want to. The hardest part is doing the things you don’t really want to do. Exercise releases endorphins, but the bed is so warm. Venturing back to your passions is what you need, but it’s easier to scroll on hours of social media. Healthy relationships with good people help heal wounds, but avoiding everyone feels so much better. You don’t want to be this way anymore, but you don’t know how to change.
Step outside your element, literally.
Force yourself to join that gym. Make yourself get outside and walk down the street. Ask that coworker you’ve known for years to hang out outside of work. Keep a journal. Adopt a dog. Tell yourself you’re worth it. Confront your past. Face your pain. Allow yourself to grieve. Society has taught us that it’s negative to express emotions, yet what makes us human is not only intelligence, it’s our capacity to feel. Denying that part of yourself hurts not only you but the relationships you have with people around you.
The cure isn’t a linear path
Sometimes, you relapse. Everything seems to be going well then it all comes crashing down again. Sometimes, it feels like lying to yourself. Like, no matter what you do, things just keep getting worse. The only thing you can desperately hold onto is love. Love from a partner, from a pet, from yourself. It’s the only thing that keeps you going.
Overcoming depression takes time, and often you fall back into the same ways of think you’re used to. You ruminate, hate, and hurt. That’s okay. Life isn’t a straight shot to the top. The obstacles put in front of you are meant to be part of who you are. Some days, you’ll truly feel like you’re getting somewhere. Others, you wish you could give up. It’s hard to remember, but most importantly, you’re not alone.