It may seem like a total contradiction, but actually it’s not and I can vouch for that having gone through it myself. Depression and being sad are two completely different things. Everybody gets sad, everybody however does not live with depression.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, it can be caused by a traumatic event, long illness/pain or it can be genetic. Also hormones tend to play a huge part (post natal depression for instance.)
For those of us who live with depression, we go through many, many days where we blame ourselves for being weak, for not being able to enjoy the many blessings we have in our lives. I have lived with depression my whole life, but was not diagnosed until I was 17, actually it was probably later than that as I remember going to the doctors numerous times after Dillon was born. I knew I wasn’t right, my mind wasn’t working the way it should have been.
But because I was young or just had a baby, I wasn’t listened to. I was asked questions like “Do you want to kill yourself?” “Do you want to harm your baby?” At that stage I was on the down slide, I wasn’t suicidal, so they surmised there was nothing wrong with me. I knew, but because I wasn’t extreme I was fobbed off time and time again.
When I look back at my earlier teenage years, I see the signs, standing out as bright as the brightest neon signs possible. I was a child though, I didn’t know what I was experiencing was depression. Many of my friends at that time, may well see this and now recognise that if they knew the signs of depression it would have been obvious to them too.
In my case, my depression is hereditary, possibly exacerbated by early trauma, brought even more so to the fore by a difficult life with small children on my own. Where depression is hereditary, the bad chemical imbalance is passed on. Therefore no matter how much therapy or positive thinking I have, I will always need to supplement my brain chemistry artificially.
That is not to discount the fantastic life changing effects great therapy can do for you, nor training your brain to think positively rather than that endless cycle of negativity and self hate. And I have to add it is literally training your brain to change your thought processes. It takes a very long time and a lot of very hard confronting work. believe me, it does work, if and only if you choose to very specifically refuse to live your life in a world of self-hatred, negativity, poor self-esteem. Until you choose to change that, anything else is just a band-aid solution.
For years I could only blame others, my parents, my ex husband, anyone I could think of. It was their fault I was depressed, it was their fault because of the things they said. I couldn’t or should I say wouldn’t face the deeper problem. Which was looking at the only person who had the power to change. Me.
I blamed, I projected my hurts onto others, I seeked reassurance – but only in a negative way – it was all I knew. I would confront people and say things like ‘ I know you think I’m worthless.’ ‘I know you think I’m a bad mother’. ‘Why am I the only person you never care about?’ I was so consumed by my self loathing, that I did nothing about it.
Finally I saw a doctor that recommended medication and counselling. I can’t even describe the difference it made to my life. I wasn’t all of a sudden a glowing ball of sunshine and light.
The first thing I noticed was when walking through the shopping centre I was able to smile at people, interact with them. That to me was a miracle.
There was a lot of stops and starts where I would conveniently forget to go to counselling, or believed I didn’t need medication. I would slide right back down again and had to have a lot of people pushing me to get back on the road to LIVING with my illness. I say living, because if you believe you are suffering, that is what you will always believe. And that one simple statement can cause such a difference in getting your thoughts into a healthy range.
Another thing that must be understood, which I find astounding is that parts of society still do not see depression as an illness. It totally and completely is an illness, just like a chest infection or a flu. People will quite often be able to accept that they had no control over contracting a flu, but will blame themselves for having an illness such as depression. Doesn’t matter how the depression was “contracted”, it is an illness that needs treatment, plain and simple.
I share this most intimate knowledge of myself, in the hopes that those of you who live with any form of mental illness seek help. If you cannot face a doctor, talk to a trusted friend or family member. There are government agencies, dedicated to mental health issues. Ask for help, you will need support, whether it’s someone accompanying you to the doctor’s surgery. Or something more practical to help with your day-to-day living.
Also, we all need to see that living with depression or any other mental illness, is not a form of weakness. We didn’t ask for it, but we sure can do everything in our power to never suffer from our illnesses.
As I say, it’s nothing to be sad about. You can choose to give in or you can choose to fight. Fight, fight for everything in your heart, mind, and soul. Blame has no place in learning to live with our illnesses.
Continue to be as strong as you have already shown you have been, be strong for you, for the person you are. Not the person you perceive yourself to be.
Can you relate? Please share in the comments below.
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