I've Got Something To Say

I have to be honest and say that I didn't know if  I could post this one... I stared at it for 20 minutes after I finished writing. I read it over and over again, changing one word here and adding a comma there. I got all kinds of nervous and I was making myself sick.
I picked up the phone and dialed Nick's number. It scares me how easily I remember it even when we haven't spoken in a while. He picked up on the second ring and sounded as cheerful as ever... not a good sign for where I was about to take the conversation. I explained what I had written and why I had written it -- not that he needed my why. Our conversation went something like this:

N: You wrote it all down. Did you forget anything?
Me: No... I just don't know if it's the right time to share it.
N: It was the right time when you sat down to write it. You said what you needed to. And now the world needs to read it. You need to let your voice be heard, you've got something to say.
M: How can you be so sure?
N: Baby girl, you've had these words pent up for a while. I know you have. Let them be free. You staring at it doesn't do it any good. Click publish, share it out with the world, and let it go.
What you need to understand, Nick is always right. It's frustrating beyond belief because occasionally, I'd like to be right. I'm obviously still hesitating to publish since I'm sitting here writing a prequel to this post. But it needs to be said.

Facebook is great at bringing back the past, those lovely updates reminding of what you were doing on this exact day three... five... seven years ago. Well today was no different, except it was. Today I was reminded of how cruel "friends" can be.
A post from 7 years ago... gosh who needs to bring up things from 7 years ago. One of my best friends at the time wrote on my wall saying that "you must not be that depressed if you didn't want to talk about it." Well alright then, that's just put that right out there.
Today (no flashback necessary), I was speaking to a friend and they asked me (in slightly different words) how you can have a good life and still be depressed? What did so-and-so have to be depressed about? I wanted to scream, but I didn't. Instead I kept my calm and let this person get out what they felt needed to be said. And then I let them walk away. I regret that now, because I've got something to say.

Depression is ugly.

I remember the first time someone handed me that label... I walked out of the office, looking up at the sky thinking there is no way that I am depressed. I don't get to be depressed. I have so much to look forward to in life. I have so much more than people who are happy. I thought smugly to myself that obviously this stranger, but what else is a therapist who has only just met with you for an hour, was mistaken. They weren't. This "stranger" was the first person to give me hope. The first person to tell me that I wasn't crazy and that I was going through could be helped. This stranger could possibly be credited with saving my life. But that's a story for another time.

The thing is, depression doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you are rich or poor, black or white, religious or agnostic. It doesn't care if you have 56 friends or no one to turn to at the end of the day. It doesn't care if you have a good paying job, a family to call home, and a fridge full of food. Depression doesn't care.

I'm having a hard time with this right now. Because I get it. I've been there, I am there -- whatever the terms you want to use, I get it because I've lived through it. But there are people out there who don't get it. And I don't blame them. They haven't felt that weight on their body saying it's okay to spend another day in bed without answering the phone. They haven't seen the looks of disapproval when you turn down yet another invitation for something that actual sounds pretty exciting. They haven't been so lost and confused inside their own head that they can't quite figure out if any of this is worth it. So I don't blame them. I'm actually really happy for them. I hope they never have to experience these things. But I want to talk to them, I want to talk to you. It's important and I need for you to listen.

To those who haven't been depressed:
I'm not looking for sympathy, but I am looking for understanding. Depression is ugly. I will never stop saying that. It is not a choice. No one wakes up in the morning and chooses to live in a fog of not knowing whether they can physically and emotionally make it through the day. Depression is not an excuse for poor life choices. It is not just a label that someone chooses in order to "get out of real life." Depression is dark. It is hard. It is a constant, every second of every minute of every hour battle. Depression is exhausting -- mentally and physically exhausting. It is a feeling of incomparable helpless.
So please don't roll your eyes, don't tell me to try harder, don't judge me in ways that you wouldn't want to be judged. I'm not lazy. I don't lack focus. You don't get it. And I understand that. But take the time to listen to a friend who needs to vent. Take the time to reach out and ask if everything is okay. In the end, the best thing you can do is listen.

The first (and second) time I was given that label, I didn't tell anyone. I made it a personal battle that I was determined to fight alone. I didn't want anyone to know how bad it had gotten. I didn't share how helpless I felt and how broken I was. The first time that label was given to me, I never got over it. I just tried to ignore it and pretend I was fine. The second time, I cried so hard I had my first panic attack. I couldn't breathe and I was terrified of what was happening to me. But again I was determined to never tell anyone how bad things were.
It wasn't until a new stranger (now one of my best friends) came into my life, held my hands, and told me we would fight this together that I realized how important it is to have support through all of this. It wasn't until the third time that I realized just how ugly depression is. It wasn't until someone told me I didn't have to do it alone that I realized how long I'd been holding breath.

I don't have all the answers and I will never, ever pretend to. But I do know that the best thing I ever did for myself was accept help. And I have since learned to talk about it. I've learned that writing is my biggest outlet -- not everything I write is meant to be shared but that's what the three journals by my bed are for.
If you are dealing with depression or anxiety or anything else, please don't think you have to do this alone. Please talk about that fog and that emptiness and the darkness. Talk to someone, anyone who will listen. Talk to me if you need to. I've learned that some of my truly heartfelt posts have led to awesome email relationships with new friends. So if you don't think you have anyone to turn to, turn to me. I'll do my best to be your friend and to support you through all of this.


1 thoughts:

  1. Depression does suck and the worst part about it is that you never think you will feel better. It is like a death sentence in a way. I remember being depressed and my inspiration came from little old Glo. She would tell me everyday "I know you don't think you will feel better but you will, one day you will wake up and feel better." It took a long time and a few different medications but she was right. Now my depression was postpartum but nonetheless it was one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with on a daily basis. Thanks for speaking up because this is a subject that needs to be talked about. Love you to the moon and back!


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