I am 21 years old and still feel the aftershocks of being diagnosed with depression when I was 15 years old. In those six years, I have learned coping mechanism that are much healthier and I can even say that although I will feel the grips of depression tugging on the hem of my shirt from time to time, for the most part, I am happy and I am living my life without this crippling fear that I could succumb to the beast at any moment.
But, this blog is less about that story than it is me trying to say that when people say they are depressed, people look at them funny. People look at you like, “well, everyone has sad days, can’t you just get over it?” No. No you can’t. Depression is a disease. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that involves the slower firing of synapses. It’s not something that you can just “get over” and it is something that never truly, fully goes away.
And I can only speak from personal experience, as I truly believe that it is a disease that is different for every person diagnosed with it, but it can be crippling. It’s not this thing where you can just mope around and still make it through your day, sometimes it is debilitating to your life. Sometimes you physically can’t bring yourself to get out of bed or even answer a simple text message acknowledging that you are still around, even if you’re not out and about. It’s not just sadness. It’s hopelessness. It’s anxiety. It’s fear. It’s over-analysis of every single minute detail. It’s not a monster under your bed or a pie chart. It’s a very serious disorder that unfortunately there is no real cure for. Instead we look to the next best thing. Instead of a cure, we have to find ways to lessen the side effects.
This sometimes means medication, different therapies, or any combination of the two.
But this must be said. People with depressive disorders, even on medication or involved with therapy will never see a single result or alleviation of any symptoms unless they decide that they want to help themselves. We have this hero complex where we think that we can save the damsel in distress. We think that there is something in us that would be able to make someone see the light. The truth of the matter is, you cannot save someone who is depressed. You cannot be their hero. The only hero that could ever rescue them is their own willpower and desire to see the light at the end of the dark, depressive tunnel. And for some it may take a while to see that, if they ever do at all. It’s just a matter of strength and desire to be stronger than the disease. Falling victim to derision is the easy part. It’s the climbing back from it that takes determination.