There has always been discussion and perception about what depression is and what depression is not. Let me share what I have found depression to be. It is real. It is sometimes debilitating. It is oftentimes misunderstood. It is a medical condition. It impacts people regardless of race, sex, age, religion, level of education, family pedigree, or financial status. You, the reader are most likely one who either battles depression or knows someone who does. It is too often shrouded in shame and secrecy. It is treatable. Although it is a battle with and for the mind, it is a winnable one. What I have found to NOT be true of depression is that one is always sad or blue. It does not mean one is weak or deficient spiritually or emotionally.
When I was an elementary age girl, my mother used to say I was “an old soul,” and call me her “melancholy baby.” I remember once asking my mother what melancholy meant and she said “well baby, it’s when someone is kind of sad or blue.” Before I was diagnosed with depression as an adult I would dismiss certain feelings and episodes as me just being melancholy.
The person battling depression may be, in fact frequently IS the one providing encouragement (Ellen Degeneres), laughter (Robin Williams), entertainment (Alicia Keys, Halle Berry, Kendrick Lamar), inspiration and comfort to others. The depressed person can be in a room full of people – strangers or loved ones, it doesn’t matter, and still feel alone and isolated. We feel like nobody can or will provide to us or our situation what we provide to others.
I don’t like to say me and others “suffer” from depression, but rather that we “battle” depression. Even with medication, each and every situation brings with it a choice to battle or to succumb to the nasty monster called depression. It is not always easy to remember that we have a choice – which is why we sometimes consider and attempt suicide. We have to be reminded that we have a choice to battle rather than succumb. Then, once we choose to battle, we have to summon the energy and resources (hope, prayer, reading, writing, music, encouragement from others, etc.) to fight. Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we are not.
As often as you can, and to as many people at you can, please pay a sincere compliment. Send an encouraging note, card, or text. Let someone know they are valuable. It may be uncomfortable for you, but it could be a matter of life and death to that other person.
And to the reader who is battling depression, you MUST believe, even when everything tells you not to, you MUST believe that I get it. I get YOU. And there is always- 100% of the time- hope in tomorrow.
2 thoughts on “Depression is REAL…”
Whew!!!!! You on fire author Dionne!!! Powerful, relatable, and knowledgeable. It is so true that the feeling of isolation is felt in a room full of people. It is a “battle” and so misunderstood. But you know… What gets so bad that people end their life.. ie Robin Williams, or an article I read today of an actor when ended his life in 2013 due to depression. Why do some people choose to battle with meds? What are the statistics of people diagnosed with depression? And of those people are the “actively” dealing with it or just ignoring it.
Thanks for the feedback Eb. In America, about 9% of the population struggles with depression. Of those, about 50% also struggle with anxiety. Some people, like me, use prescription medication to help battle depression. The reason is because the meds help with the chemical imbalance in the brain that causes depression. Robin Williams and many others like him, in my experience and in my opinion take their own lives, because that is really and truly the BEST OPTION AT THAT MOMENT to deal with the pain. When a person who battles depression is at the point of suicide, they, excuse, WE, because I have been there, really believe that death is preferred over the weariness, hopelessness, isolation, and despair we are experiencing at that time. An outsider looking in may say “well all they had to do was reach out or call someone”. Well when you are out to sea on a little raft, drowning, and all you can see are raging waters and tormenting winds, with no lifeline, lighthouse, or land in sight you don’t see the point in shouting for help, because you can’t imagine that anyone will hear you.
LikeLiked by 1 person