90% of having a blog (for me) is ignoring it because you can’t think of anything to write. Truth. But sometimes, something hits you in the middle of the night and keeps you up while screaming “YOU HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THIS!!” That was last night, and this is me, tired but listening.
Now I’ve been pretty open about Slugger and his ADHD/ODD diagnosis, but what I’ve failed to mention is that I suffer from mental illness. There it is. Bomb dropped. It’s out there.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness, so I know I’m not alone. Regardless, mental illness is still a taboo subject for a lot of people and therefor most people suffering aren’t very forth coming about their experiences.
So here we are. We are talking about it. I was diagnosed some time ago with chronic depression and anxiety. Now, what drives me out of my mind, is when people say “Everyone is depressed.” or “The whole world has depression!” Trust me. They don’t. But there are a lot of us. Chances are you may not know someone in your circle suffers. Let me explain.
Again, this is where I pause to say that what I’m about to talk about is my personal experience. I do not speak for everyone; I only speak for myself. I am not a medical professional. If you are struggling with ANY health issue, mental or otherwise, please reach out to your doctor.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way…
I think a common misconception is that people with depression are “just sad”. Which leads to a group of uninformed people who think that by saying “We’re all sad! Just get over it!” magically, they’ve found the cure for depression. But it’s so much more than “just sad”. It’s raw. It’s painful. It’s all consuming and all encompassing. It means there are days where, despite knowing I have a million things to do, I don’t make it off the couch.
I feel like I’m not good enough.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m not pretty enough.
I’m not funny enough.
I’m not skinny enough.
I’m NOT ENOUGH.
I spend everyday feeling all of these things. When you couple that with my anxiety, I now also worry about how I’m none of these things. And again, “We ALL worry.” Yes, but this worry doesn’t go away. This worry tells me I don’t belong… I don’t deserve… I don’t need…
On a typical day, I leave my house, let’s say, to go grocery shopping. Easy enough, right? We all have to do it. Now where most people go about their day and get the things they need without a second thought, my trip is a little different. My brain tells me I’m in the way. I’m inconveniencing everyone around me. I don’t deserve to be there. I imagine everyone I come in contact with leaves thinking about how much of a waste I am. How I can’t do anything right. How I was in their way.
Now, rationally, logically speaking, I’m pretty sure most people don’t even notice me. I’m like 80% sure. I know this. But in the moment, I cannot convince my brain that everything is fine.
I once had a therapist tell me: “You know, it’s really self centered of you to think EVERYONE is paying attention to your every move…”
And I see her point. But trust me when I say it doesn’t stem from self centeredness. Quite the opposite. It’s a serious lack of self esteem with a heap of depression and a sprinkling of anxiety. Needless to say, I didn’t go to that therapist anymore.
So what do I do about this?
Here comes another disclaimer: Don’t handle it the way I do. Seek professional help.
I have convinced myself that because I know and can rationalize why I feel the way I feel, therapy isn’t for me. I don’t need to talk things out to come to a conclusion. I’ve felt this way my whole life. Literally. And I’ve had a lot of time to soul search and understand where this all stems from.
I also don’t want to take medication. I know it works amazingly for some, but I’m just not there. I’ve tried it once (I know, I know) and there was no difference really. So I’ve just told myself I don’t need it.
Depression is a funny thing. You have this illness that tells you how worthless you are everyday. And then you’re expected to get help. What those on the outside don’t realize is that you don’t feel like you deserve help. There’s someone who “really” needs it. And it can’t be you, because you don’t matter.
Pretty messed up, huh?
So if you’ve gotten this far, and you know me personally, you’re probably thinking “But, you don’t act like this. You’re always laughing and smiling.”
Well, this is how I deal with it.
When I’m around people, I tend to be a little too loud, a little too awkward, a little too happy. Because I want what any one else wants. I want to be someone people want to be around. I don’t want to be isolated all the time. So I do and say the things that I think I should. I bury all the things that are whirling in my mind so as not to be a burden to my friends and family. And this is why I say you may not know that someone has depression. We sometimes hide it. We want to be happy as much as the next person, and sometimes you have to fake it ’til you make it.
So why am writing this? Why am I pouring my heart out on a blog post that maybe 5 people will actually read? Well, you always hear “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel”. That seems to be a big thing with the invention of social media. So, if it helps one person feel less alone, if it helps one person better understand their friend or family member…
If it helps one person, it’s worth uncovering my behind the scenes.