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The Most Misunderstood Word – Depression

When most people think about depression, they view some person who is just a negative thinker and wants attention.  They look at that person and think, “why doesn’t he/she just shake it off? Life is too short to be depressed!”

Now, there can be those types of people that may have a tendency to crave attention, but depression is a whole other story.  There is a HUGE difference between being sad or down for a day or two and then feeling like pure shit for two months STRAIGHT.

If you have never experienced depression, then it might be extremely hard to understand what is really going on, and that is ok.  In order to do so you have to be in a very open mindset and be willing to vividly visualize this scenario.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?  Vividly imagine that feeling.  That feeling of not having an interest in doing anything, of not feeling pleasure from eating or walking around the block, and that life just isn’t worth it.  Now try to vividly imagine feeling like that for two months. Not two days, but TWO MONTHS NONSTOP. Now imagine feeling like that for TWO YEARS.

A depressed person may only have one or two days of relief during those two months, or they may go eight months depressed and then two months of normality.  Can you even imagine feeling like that day in and day out?  They may be depressed for so long that they forget what it is even like to feel good.  They may not know they are depressed and just conclude that something is wrong with them.

Yes there may be aspects of life that need to be improved on to feel happy, but a depressed person will not even be able to feel the joy of improving those areas of his or her life.

What angers me the most is when people who have never been depressed in their entire lives talk about it as if they know what the depressed person is feeling and that the depressed person must simply be a wuss or melancholy person.  The funny thing about this anger is I mainly feel it when I’m not depressed.  When I was depressed, I felt the same thing.  But now that I feel normal, I realize just how messed up that view is.  That is like telling a cancer patient to just suck it up and be cheerful while they are going through chemotherapy, and that isn’t a far stretch of a comparison.  People talking about depression, not simply feeling sad, when they have never been there would be the equivalent of me writing a book about what it is like to be a schizophrenic.  I can’t, because I have never been there.

Depression is so misunderstood in this society that if I was elected president, I would honestly make a mental health awareness class mandatory in high schools.  We are taught to pretend to be happy, that if someone does not feel good they are simply faulty and messed up, and that depressed people are downers and weird.

So the next time you feel depressed, know that it is okay to feel that way.  For some people eating healthy, sleeping right, and exercising is enough.  For other people, no matter how much ass they kick, they will still be depressed.  They may need medication, to fix a nutritional deficiency, or learn to express their emotions.  But the bottom line is that for some people depression cannot be controlled with willpower alone.  I know because I was one of those ass kicking people.  I ran a marathon, I went skydiving, I went 150 mile per hour on an R6, and I still felt lifeless.  If going skydiving and still feeling like shit afterwards doesn’t prove that depression isn’t simply a problem that a person can “shake off” then I don’t know what is.

I want to honestly say to anyone who may be reading this blog, if you suffer from depression I feel you.  I know what it is like to will yourself up everyday, to go through the motions, only to go home and sit there feeling like a walking zombie through life. To feel the anger and grief of how much life you lost when you finally step outside of depression for a quick glimpse of time, almost shitting yourself when you suddenly feel as if you lost a year of your life.

I am going to write about my story with depression and link to it here when I am done. I have suffered bouts of depression for about 11 years.  I’d say the scariest of those was when I didn’t believe I had it, or simply forgot that there was light on the other side.

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