“I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong”
-chester, linkin park
With everything that has happened to notable celebrities and now with Chester Bennington who ended his life, I felt like I needed to speak up about the misconceptions of depression and how to deal with it if you or anyone you know is battling it.
People think that depression is just about being sad and alone. It’s actually far from that.
There are different forms of depression but one thing that other sufferers can relate to is that it is total numbness.
When you wake up one day and realize things are just so. Things are just turning like clockwork. What is there left to do? You would think that that is actually a good life to live. But I tell you no. It’s not about how many problems you have that you are feeling sad and lonely. It’s not about how much burden you have to shoulder for one day. It’s not about feeling the saddest point in your life that you don’t know what to do.
It’s worse than that.
It’s feeling the numbness from within your core. Feeling nothing at all.
How is that, you say? It’s waking up in the morning not knowing why everything is like a vicious cycle -even if that cycle is a good and productive one. You will feel like things are too perfect. Things are too undisturbed and then you get paranoid. You think what if something bad was to happen soon… because things do not work as perfectly as it should be in the real world. Then all these little problems add up in your mind and create an unknown reality that traps you inside of yourself. You are a prisoner in your own thoughts. That’s how your emotions will evolve. And no, you are not sad. You are not happy. You do not feel anything at all. And that’s the hardest part you need to realize.
That is depression… at least for me.
It’s the most common misconception people have and I hope that this piece enlightens others.
People seek help and need help. And the only help some get is to get psychological help with all the pills attached to it. This is one way to handle it but it’s not the only way. I find that the best way that works for me is through a strong support system. You need to find that one or two or in my case, three people that know what to do when you have an episode. These 3 people are my family. My husband and 2 daughters know how to go about a day with a depression episode from me. They handle things the way any expects them too, even if my daughters are at such a young age.
What do they do, you ask? Well, since my depression normally starts from the moment I wake up and ends differently, could be the following day or the entire week, it all depends on my family.
When I feel an episode has crept up on me, I tell them. I frankly tell them “I feel nothing. I am neither sad nor happy nor lonely nor ecstatic about anything”. Even if there is good news in front of me or bad news behind me, I feel nothing.
And I tell them this.
When I do tell them this, they stop, hug me and ask what do I need? Sometimes I tell them I need to lock myself up in the room. Sometimes I tell them I need a new environment or sometimes I tell them “nothing” and to just let me be.
What does my family do upon hearing this? They would try to get me out of my daily routine. They would suggest simple things such as “Let’s go out and have dinner somewhere else” or “Let’s go to the oval and go for a light run” or “Let’s watch an old movie or series online” or sometimes, they would just try their best to stay out of my hair and make the day a light one. My kids will try their best to not be their annoying self for the day. My husband would get his guitar and sing one of my favorites. Or sometimes, we would go grab some ice cream.
It all varies.
But one thing that doesn’t change is that they don’t discriminate. They don’t judge. They try to treat depression as an illness. Just like a flu that will pass if given the right care. Even my dogs know when I am having an episode and they try in their own little way to keep nuzzling at me to give me some kind of comfort. And for this, I am thankful. I wish other sufferers would have this kind of support system. But here’s the thing… it isn’t that difficult to get that support. It all starts with “the talk”.
What is “The Talk”?
“The talk” is that one moment in your life when you realize who it is you really need in your life that matters and sit them down to explain what’s going on.
It’s to actually try to explain, if you can.
It’s to help them see what you are going through, feeling at times or lack thereof. And you should ask them to not judge. To open their minds and look at you not as a ‘poor little one’ but as a respectable human being with a real illness.
Once you have that person understand that it’s not just about “going through the motions”, it would be easier to talk about how your support person/people can help you. If you know how to handle your depression, tell them honestly and specifically what they need to do to help you when an episode strikes.
If you do not know yet how to handle it, tell your support person/people that it’s still a learning process and that maybe a little trial and error in terms of pacifying can help pinpoint what can actually minimize the damage of depression.
There are many layers and levels to depression but this is what mine looks like. We all just need to keep in mind that depression doesn’t discriminate. Depression isn’t only for those with the toughest problems in the world. It could be your introvert friend or your hyperactive neighbor. It could be anyone sitting next to you on the bus lost in thought or the one that keeps making jokes at the party. It could be any other celebrity for that matter.
Depression doesn’t care about your standing in life.
It’s an illness. Stop the stigma. Stop treating depression like it’s just a label for someone who has the cuckoos. It’s more than that and the easiest way to help your dear someone is to be a good support system. On the other hand, the best way for you, as a sufferer who deals with depression day in and day out, is to be as honest as possible to your support group.
2-way care and honesty can lead to saving lives.
If you or someone you know is battling depression, there are many support groups online but the best place to start is always at home.
*I am always free for any talks for comfort or just a shoulder to lean on. Never hesitate. Send me an email.
*photos in this article used are not mine, full credits to the owner.
*Please read full disclaimer for this post here.