I’ve been “out” about my life with depression for a while now. I’m not sure why I decided it was time to stop hiding and time to start trying to be more honest with myself and with others. My close friends, they knew I had depression, but they didn’t know how hard I was struggling the past several years. And most people, had no clue that I – the seemingly happy, functioning, strong woman, was struggling on a daily basis to sometimes get out of bed and put on that happy face. But I was. And somedays, even now, I still do.
Since “outing” myself, I’ve had many people embrace me – publicly and privately – which has been so wonderful. helpful. supportive. And some even confess their own private issues with mental health issues. Others regularly check in.
And there are others who treat me with kid gloves – like damaged goods. There are days that this bothers me. But most of the time, I think about the fact that this is really a reflection of the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. People don’t understand depression – hell, even someone who lives with it doesn’t get it all the time. People think that it’s a choice, that I’ve chosen to be unhappy. (now why would anyone choose to be unhappy, I ask you.) That depression is about being happy or unhappy. Some think that medication and/or therapy are silver bullets, which they are not. It’s taken me years (literally more than a decade) of trying just about every medication alone and in combo before I’ve been able to find something that works. For me. Right now. And it’s not a given that tomorrow, my current regimen will still work for me.
I try daily, literally daily, to reach out to people – sometimes a text is all I can muster. Sometimes its just Facebook. But I try. I try to reconnect with those I’d pushed away because I didn’t know how to function. (And I hate the phone but I’m even doing better making phone calls and reaching out that way too). These are decisions I do make, but when I made the excuses for not going out, or answering the phone or cancelling plans – that was me in survival mode because that was all I could do.
I hope that my posts help to shine some light on what someone who lives with severe/major depressive disorder is like. To be real and not paint the world with rose colored glasses. But I don’t want to be a ‘debbie downer’ either, because life IS good. I am empowered, I do know what my options and choices are and I know how good, good feels and I’m determined to keep it.