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I’ve tried for several years to make a name for me. Something that made me feel accepted. Something that was mine. Something that I needed others’ approval to succeed in. But it failed. It’s ok. Because in the long run, it doesn’t matter what you give and share to others, if you are doing for the glory of kudos, then you will end up empty. You have to be doing it from your heart. Don’t get me wrong…all of my creations and writings are from my heart, but the disconnect comes from when you are wanting to feel the acceptance from others and not always getting it. Depression talks to you like that. Stupid, I know. Life isn’t about making other people happy all the time. I try my hardest to encourage others and help them learn that. Yet here I am struggling to heed my own advice. Why is that difficult? I’m still trying to recover from failures and let downs from things and people. It’s hard.
It’s called depression. And it’s a bullshit thing to have to deal with. It’s the devil invading your head. And when it’s visiting, it’s hell to get away from it. I fight this beast constantly and it pisses me off when it comes my way. I see it coming and knocking on my door; yet each time, I either open the door and let it in (because there is a sick sort of comfort in it) or it pushes its way in while I try with all my might to keep the door shut. All I know is that it enters and it stays for hours, days and sometimes week. You never know how long it’s going to take residence.
Back to me being the girl who is always encouraging and supporting others with a smile on her face. It’s a mask. And it gets tiresome to hold up sometimes. I am a person who loves to make other people feel supported and loved….but yet most of the time that’s not me, or at least that’s not how I feel. It’s hard to write about depression because it makes you look weak. It turns people off. They think “here’s another one of her attention seeking tactics”. Far from it. It’s writing. Writing that sometimes heals me. Some days they’re just words on paper and today it may be rambling – but in three months when I look back and reread it, I will see where there was strength in the sharing. Not attention-seeking. I don’t want anyone to have pity on me. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. What I do want….is for you to recognize that this is a very real thing not just for me, but maybe for your best friend, your brother, your mother or your pastor. Something that they may not have the courage to speak about. You’ll see it though. You’ll see it shown in their lack of communication. You’ll see it in their lack of interest in things that used to make them happy. Hell, you may even see it because they try to cover it up with being “too happy”.
There’s a problem when trying to describe what depression feels like because it’s incredibly difficult to articulate those thoughts and feelings to someone who isn’t visiting when the demon is there. Depression has manageable days. Those are the days that the demon is waiting outside my door but I can constantly feel him peeking in my windows. On those days I function and appear to be fine. I’ll share how good life is and all of the amazing things to encourage you. That’s the other devil side of social media; you only see the happy side of most people – but that’s a story for another day. Then there are days that downright suck and it’s the hardest thing to understand if you’ve never been there. And guess what? These shifts can both happen in the same day. You can wake up with the demon outside your window and a couple hours later he has busted the door down and taken residence in your home.
These are the times you need to reach out for support but you don’t want to. The time you need to call that best friend because she’s assured you she’d be there to listen. Here’s the thing though, with depression comes the feeling of unworth – and who wants to burden their best friend with that. In the midst of it you feel like it’s self-indulgent and something you shouldn’t be feeling. You know you are worthy – but that demon sure in the hell makes you feel like you aren’t! You don’t want to share with people this side of you!! So you swallow it down and isolate yourself more. Because talking about it will surely make you sound whiny and ungrateful for all that you do have. I don’t like nor want to be around myself – why would anyone else chose that?!
Depression isn’t just being sad though. It’s crippling. Unfortunately for me, it has been crippling to me mentally and physically for a few years. My concentration is almost non-existent and the drive to simply make it through the day is a far off place I can’t see. That’s what depression does. It twists things around in your mind and makes any activity impossible to complete. Only by the grace of God has it not had me in bed for months out of the year. Depression is truly the absence of hope. It will take your most joyous occasion yesterday and throw it in your face about how it shouldn’t be today.
Why am I sharing this with you? It’s definitely not for the “feel-sorry’s”. I don’t want that. It’s for you to know that it’s REAL and sometimes there is absolutely NOTHING that we can do or change to make it go away. My demon didn’t visit because I am weak. It didn’t visit because I am failing – yet, I know first hand that those are all things that it makes you believe! It’s hard to make that demon leave when he’s there. He’s strong with a lot more power than me sometimes. He takes up a lot of space in my home and when I am cowering down to him, I surely can’t fight him. He has the power. And so I wait. I wait until he gets tired of being there and decides to visit someone else. Or I wait until he decides that today he isn’t going to kill me and so he leaves. Only to visit another day and try again – always quietly waiting outside my door.
This is a reminder to someone else feeling the same as me today; you are not alone. You are not a failure. Your life isn’t a shambles. You are not defective. You are not broken. You don’t “deserve” this. We’re simply human in a broken world.
Promise me you’ll believe these things and I will do my damndest on my dark days to believe them too. It’s hard as hell, I know! Do the best you can with the strength you have. It’s in there somewhere. Someone out there knows exactly what you are feeling. It will pass. Be kind to yourself while it’s visiting. For God’s sake figure out what you can do in those times to help you have courage. My courage? My family…..I’m sure they would be lost without me. Yes, it seems easy for the affected to just end the pain. But others will suffer pain if you are not here. My kids may very well live a happy fulfilled life of never being affected by this ugly beast – but if I chose to end my life, then they may very well fight the ugly beast just as I have. That’s never the answer, even when it seems like the only one. I want to pass a lot of things onto my children but depression isn’t one of them. Yes, I can’t change it being hereditary, but I can change circumstances and not contribute to it visiting them.
I pray it passes for you – and me – quickly. I pray that you take steps to not let the outside influences of the world push that demon back through your door.