Posted by: mydarkestplaces | April 18, 2013

Depression 4.0

At some point I’m going to have to start coming up with new titles for these posts, but at this exact moment before my coffee has hit, I don’t really have the creativity to do so.

So here we are. My fourth post (ish) about depression.

I’m very lucky and blessed that I have an abundance of friends who don’t suffer chemical depression. Like anybody, they occasionally suffer from situational depression – the circumstances they find themselves in when the universe seems to just be piling on.I’m happy for them. More, I think it’s important for me to have them in my life.

However, when I’m suffering a downswing, or just in general talking about depression, these friends don’t necessarily “get” it. They know that I’m hurting. They know I’m frustrated. They know I’m suffering immense mental anguish. And they want to fix it. And that’s so laudable. In the good times, and on the fringes of the bad, knowing that I have friends who want to ease my hurt is a comfort, a salve.

But as I’ve addressed in this space before, chemical depression isn’t something that can be beat. It’s a siege. It can’t be fixed. It can be allayed. It can be pushed back, but it’s always there.

I know it’s difficult for people who don’t suffer chemical depression to understand it. Even if you’re not a “fixer”, I imagine it would be tough to look at someone like me – a good job, for a good company; an incredibly loving and comforting family; a wealth of friends who never give up on me even when I drop off the planet – and say, “what does she have to be depressed about?” (If you know me in any way you know that this is often a refrain that runs through my head about myself and I do suffer from depression)

I wish I could explain how chemical depression works. But I was a history major and barely passed chemistry and never took anatomy. So, I’ll leave that to the folks over at PsychCentral. My description is a little more floral.

The problem with depression is even though you know something intellectually, even though you can see where you should be and where you need to be. It’s hard to actualize how to get there. You’re like Sisyphus, but you’re forced to crawl on your hands and knees – which are tied to each other – and before you even get to the mountainside you have to cross a river filled with jello. You can look up and see your goal, and you can start working towards it, and maybe you make a little bit of progress, but getting there is nigh impossible. However, maybe you make a little bit of progress. You’ve made the snack shack halfway up the mountain, you get to rest on the plateau ready to push on and get to the top. You soldier on again. And finally, you get there. You’ve made it out. You’re at the top. Things are golden. And then you fall back and the battle starts all over again.

This cycle, this battle, much like Sisyphus’s, doesn’t end. Its timing may vary. Sometimes the cycle lasts six months, six days, six years. It’s hard to tell when you’re going to be knocked back on your ass so you’re always concerned today is going to be the day. The feather knocking the boulder backwards could be as little as a bad day at work or as major as losing a loved one.

For what it’s worth, I’m more than a little scared right now because I do feel like I’m reaching the top of the mountain. And I don’t know whether this will be one of the times the mountain just continues to grow or whether I’m going to be knocked back on my ass. Time will tell. It’s a comfort to me knowing my friends – depressed or not – are there for me unflinchingly and unquestioningly.

For those who may read this who don’t suffer depression, I hope this helps you understand where my head is at any given time. I hope you have a little more patience (or less depending on the situation). I hope not that you stop trying to fix it for me, but think about where I might be emotionally and mentally before you try and fix it.

I love that you want to. I love that you are unquestionably there for me. But sometimes I just need someone to listen when I bitch, to lean in to as a shoulder when I need to cry, buy me a drink when I need to get drunk, give me a hug when I need a hug. Just being there is sometimes enough.


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