Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Uncomfortable Discussion About Depression


I am reminded of my desire to lobby for mental health issues as my stomach is churning over things I read about depression, triggers, and suicide. I just posted this comment to a stranger who writes about the possibility of a familial relationship ending over what outsiders may see as insignificant:
Why can't your sister just apologize for yelling at you? It obviously hurt and triggered you- that is the bottom line. You shouldn't have to 'lighten up' or 'not take it so seriously'YOUR FEELINGS ARE YOUR FEELINGS - IT HURT YOU. That is what truly matters. Don't 'feel' bad for how you feel. People are so clueless about depression. There are deep rooted issues that are causing you to feel this way. You can't just throw up a white flag and say 'okay, it was my fault. You're right'. It's not that simple. My heart goes out to you.

People with clinical depression resulting from childhood trauma and/or messed up brain chemicals think differently. Medication and therapy helps, but we still have irrational thoughts and feelings that ‘the average person’ will not understand. I am finally learning to keep my most personal thoughts to myself for fear of losing yet one more friend/family member. Basically, no one knows me anymore, not like they use to. I have come to accept people are uncomfortable with my thoughts and therefore, I try to stay on the surface. Losing my recent best friend was ‘the last straw’ for me. I am not in any way trying to escape fault in destroying relationships. My personal issues are too heavy for the lay person to deal with. There are negative repercussions to my new way of guarding myself, which, of course, I refuse to tell anyone. I am becoming a different person for the sake of keeping friends and attempting to ‘blend in’ as a ‘normal person’. I admit here- I am being inauthentic. But that is what one must do sometimes for survival.

I will give a brief example- my birthday is Friday. I never hear from my family on my birthday. In a way, this is a harder time for me than Christmas. During my twenties, I thought it would be appropriate to commit suicide on my birthday and truly considered it every year.

Doesn’t that paragraph make you uncomfortable? Maybe make you want to run from me, or the opposite, to give me pretty words and offers of prayers to make me feel better?

See, that won’t work. There is no answer. That is what sucks about major clinical depression – others think you are irrational, attention-seeking, and crazy. But there are chemical, deep-rooted reasons for my feelings. And I shouldn’t have to justify how I feel – no one should.

There is no ‘happy’ way to end this entry. I just had to speak up after hearing several serious mental illness issues yesterday. People cannot claim ‘suicide’ is never the answer when they haven’t been severely, clinically depressed. How about just a little compassion and understanding? Deal with the here and now- tomorrow, or even an hour from now, the depressed person may feel better. Then again, it could take weeks or months.

If I understood depression and knew what to do, I would tell you. But with a lifetime of experience and years of graduate education in psychology myself, I don’t understand it myself. If I did, I wouldn’t be too disabled to have a full time job because of my own mental illmess.

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