I have depression. This isn’t a newsflash to basically anyone on here and you’re all probably tired of reading that. Fair enough.
The point is that I never stop being ashamed of saying it. It never stops feeling like a major revelation each time I have to admit to myself or a new person or even someone who already knows that I have/struggle with/experience depression. It never stops being humiliating that I can’t do something or go somewhere or want something anymore because I deal with this…whatever this is: chemical imbalance, spiritual issue, Fall disorder…
Every time I tell a new friend that I’m having a bad day or I feel bad and I have to explain that it’s not a cold or a flue or even allergies, but my brain and body squishing out my will to live…I feel a little bit of me die. Withdraw. Shrivel up. Because now the relationship expectations change. I’m now the broken one. The one with something wrong that the other person doesn’t exactly understand. That they want to help fix or alleviate, and so they tentatively offer support or hot soup or to “talk.” And they look at me like I’m a ticking time bomb about to go off. One day, she’s going to lose it, go ballistic, kill herself, kill someone else, what if she cries in public?!
None of my real friends or family or work team has ever actually said any of those things. They have never expressed that kind of distaste for my presence or fear about anything other than my well being.
So those questions. Those fears. Those accusations.
They come from me.
I’m going to embrace me. And no, I don’t mean hug myself like patting myself on the back. I’m going to stop apologizing for being depressed. I’m going to stop caving in around myself and blaming myself and castigating myself because my behavior dictates how other people see me. How I react to my disease/imbalance/sin problem influences how other people react. If I’m ashamed and scared, why shouldn’t they treat me as something shameful and to be afraid of? But if I am open about this part of myself, that it hurts, but that it’s no different than a chronic illness or a preference for a certain type of weather…Then that’s what other people will treat it as.
I had a bad day. I didn’t follow through on a plan. And I had to tell someone that I couldn’t follow through. And told them, as a result, that I struggle with depression. Because of that convo, I questioned whether this person would ever talk to me again. Would they accept me or shame me or freak out and run away because OH NO SHE HAS DEPRESSION.
But for heaven’s sake. It’s not the plague. They can even cure that now, I hear. So I have bad days. Sometimes I cry irrationally. Or take a few extra minutes to get out of bed in the morning.
And seriously, almost everyone does that, with or without depression.
So here’s a promise to myself, to God, to my family, to my friends, to my one day friends: I am going to accept this piece of myself. I will be okay with it. I will heal it to the best of my ability and I will not apologize for it (as long as I’m not actually hurting someone else). And that is going to be pretty darn near impossible for me, but that is what I want to do.
Thank you for sticking around.
Because you really should.
I’ve been told I’m worth it.