This is my first time writing about something so personal and I am quite nervous. I can only hope someone reads this and finds some solace or something that they can relate to.
I didn't like myself for a long time and I would like to share why. I've been battling with Severe Depression and Anxiety for as long as I can remember. I always just wanted to be a "normal" kid who didn't break down in the middle of school or out in public at a Friendly's Restaurant. It took me 32 years to realize that I AM normal, depression and anxiety be damned. It is part of me and always will be. I can't apologize for who I am, and I won't anymore. My illness does not define me. There has always been such a stigma about depression. As the years go by I see that stigma dwindling thanks to people being more opened and less ashamed. The more people that share their stories, the more awareness raised. And as we know, as with any illness, awareness is so important. Mental illness doesn't discriminate. You can be rich, poor, skinny, fat and everything between and still feel like your world is crashing down around you. Depression is a disease. Plain and simple. Medication helps somewhat, getting my daily doses of vitamins may help and eating better has certainly helped. But I am on a long and arduous journey that I fully expect to last a life time. And sadly, I have had few family members and friends that have stuck around for this period of my life. Either they just don't understand, don't care or any other plethora of reasons. And this is OK. Can you really blame people for not sticking around when you lock yourself in your house for weeks on end? I certainly can't. Although, in my opinion there is nothing more important to someone suffering with depression than people that will stand by your side. I have been trying to cut negativity out of my life as much as possible. This includes people that tell me to "Just snap out of it" excuse me? How about you snap out of being an asshole? (pardon my language) It also includes people that turn my depression into their chance to be some kind of knight in shining armor. They may suggest ways of how I can pull myself out of "this funk". I don't need that. I need to be treated like a normal human being, with feelings and understanding. Albeit, these feelings might be sometimes morose and down in the dumps. But, if I ask you for space, please provide me that courtesy. I am absolutely not saying that talking doesn't help. Sometimes it helps tremendously, but I believe it is my decision to decide when and what I want to talk about. You can ask, but please respect my wishes if I don't want to at that time. It honestly makes me feel suffocated and forced into a corner when I am repeatedly told that "we" need to talk. Sometimes I wake up on the morning feeling pretty fantastic (for me). Then someone asks me what's wrong or tells me to "smile" like I am two seconds away from taking a nose dive off of a cliff. These questions and remarks just making me feel incredibly awful and ashamed. Is this irrational on my part? Likely, yes. Actually, more like definitely yes. It is touching to have people that care. However, being treated like you are on suicide watch because you aren't smiling ear to ear or going out and partying just makes me agonize over what I could do and say differently. I have social anxiety, it is sometimes hard to leave my home or even talk on the phone. When people that know me as well as my conditions and still get upset, angry or annoyed because I am not around as much as they feel I should be, it tears me up emotionally. And just to throw in a cliche, it's not you, it really and truly is me. I want to say that good friends and even some family should understand this unconditionally. But, again, they are humans with their own problems and I don't expect them to cater to mine. I just hope more people will take the time to understand mental illness and the ramifications it can have on relationships. Am I selfish? Probably. Am I tired of having so many mixed and contradicting feelings? Hell yes. If you know or love someone that is dealing with depression, listen to them when they need someone to listen. Ask them if they want to talk, if they don't that's fine too. Leave them alone when they want to be alone. Don't run away because they haven't been very present. They will come around when they are ready. Please, Be there for them. Everyone is so different, do what works best for your loved one. Of course, if you feel they are a threat to themselves or someone else please seek help immediately. If you are suffering with depression and/or anxiety just remember, things can sometimes feel that you have hit rock bottom. And they are jagged, sharp, painful rocks. But you haven't, because you are alive and there is help out there. You may struggle for the rest of your life, but believe me, the clouds do let up. *This is just my experience with my personal brand of mental illness, I am certainly not an expert in any way, shape or form.