I have been battling depression for years. I would like to say that my older sister's death triggered it when I was 12, but really, it was something that was always there. It was just magnified. Lots of people like to say that children cannot be depressed, and I'd like to take this time to call them on their bullshit. There are plenty of kids that are depressed and have no way to explain the way they are feeling because they are constantly told they can't feel that way. When you're 10 years old and you feel like you're constantly out of place for liking the things you do or not understanding why everything feels so bad constantly, it's hard to tell people. And when you're told by adults that you're just upset or sad or that you shouldn't even be feeling these things at this age, you don't get answers- you just get more frustrated and upset. So you shut down and you don't talk about the things that are affecting you.
Throughout my teenage years I acted out, thinking that what I was doing- what I was seeking in other people- was what I needed to feel okay. Love is not love in high school. It's sexual experiences construed with these false ideas of what you should be doing for someone to care about you. I was a mess. And all I ever got out of it was getting hurt by the people I thought cared and my family looking at me and telling me that I was way too promiscuous. I was looking for the acceptance and love that I was not getting anywhere else. Chalk it up to daddy issues. Chalk it up to being a teenager. What ever it was, I was screaming for help and the world just told me that I need to sit down and shut up.
The only person I know truly ever cared about me that I was with almost got married to me. We were together for 3.5 years, and life was great. Then, suddenly, I was blindsided by depression and didn't know how to function. I was lashing out at everyone around me hoping that someone would recognize the signs and try to help me. I was an emotional wreck. I had lost my job and hurt the person that I cared the most about. We split, and things haven't been easy since. I still think about him. I still think about how bad I messed up. It haunts me and it is terrible. I began drinking and partying in hopes of numbing what I was feeling, but it never worked. It never, ever does.
This past year, I have tried dating people after him. I have tried feeling things for people again, and the minute I got close to someone, I was hurt in a way that I had never felt before. He ruined me. I was an emotional wreck for so many different reasons. Sexual assault changes people in ways I can't even explain. I was unable to even think about being in a relationship, let alone be close to someone. I kept trying, and started hurting people so they couldn't get close to me. Now I'm alone and accepting that I should probably be this way for a while.
Depression takes the happiness out of every situation that you can be in. It is the worst thing to say, "Well, I mean, you're smiling. I don't understand how you can say you're depressed and still laughing." It's easy. Everything is tinged with this soft grey outline and feel. You feel like everything and everyone around you would be okay without you there, and you're not really affecting anyone's life in a positive manor.
The next worst thing you can say to someone is that they should "just get over it". If I could pull myself out of the emotional pit I feel every day of my life, I would do it in a second. I would make this feeling go away and suddenly feel like I am 100% myself again, I would. I can't turn this feeling on or off. It comes in waves and usually hits me like an 18 wheeler out of no where. I went a year without it really hitting me. All it took was one trigger to pull me back down.
I would never actually hurt myself. It's not something that has ever crossed my mind. I just wish that I had a button that could make me disappear some days so that the world didn't seem so heavy. I want to live. I just don't want everything to feel so heavy all the time either.
I think Erika Moen said it best in her recent post about Robin Williams' passing, which can be found here.
If you know anyone dealing with depression, please be kind to them. They are fighting an invisible battle that can be extremely tough.