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.