Why does depression get its own page? Well, for better or for worse, it’s been my nearest and dearest companion for the entirety of my short adult life, and thus deserves some recognition. Even if that recognition isn’t entirely made out of love.
For me, depression has been a series of hurdles. The first was just admitting that I even had it. No one wants to say they’re depressed, mostly because of the existing stigma against all forms of mental illness. I was no different. The word was synonymous with “weak”, “lazy”, and “pseudo-illness” in my mind, so I had to do a lot of research and a shit ton of soul-searching to reeducate myself and adopt a new mindset. I’m not even going to get into the challenge of educating others on the stupid subject.
However, the hardest thing I had to do after acknowledging my depression was doing something about it (“doing something about it” here meaning “living with it”). And… I’m still working on that. I think I’ll always be working on it. That’s really exhausting to think about, especially when I know that there are people out there who don’t have to deal with the burden, who don’t have dark periods where basic functionality is a struggle, who don’t feel like crawling into a hole when their mind turns on itself.
Yeah, it’s really fucking easy to be bitter. You can make that argument for any debilitating illness or handicap – be it cancer, paralysis, Lyme disease, anything. Unfortunately, the reality is that mental illness still isn’t seen the same way as other diseases, which admittedly does add another layer of resentment and hopelessness. But even when I’m most angry, I wouldn’t wish depression on the worst person on the planet. Which I like telling myself (“See? You’re deep-down a very selfless person, not a piece of crap, Molly.”).
My therapist always tells me that depression is based in anger. Well, if that’s the case, then I must have a super long list of things I’m angry about. I think people walking really, really slowly down the middle of sidewalk while I’m trying to pass them because I’m late for work is very near the top (I try to think about it with at least a small grain of humor, but if that seems sacrilegious, try not to be too offended).
But in all seriousness, tapping into the things I’ve bottled up has been essential. I’ve learned to go about it with just understanding or acknowledgment in mind, not finding a solution. Sometimes, things can’t be fixed, especially if they happened a long time ago. But I always feel better after taking pains to admit that I was/am even angry about them, because then I can change how I act now and in the future. And that, I believe, is what I’ll call a result.