I feel like I’ve written about this before, but I can’t seem to find anything on it. Now is as good a time as ever to write a post about it, because I’m in it.
Hello, I’m Nathan, I’m 36 years old and I live with severe depression. Depression is not an illness people like to talk about. Probably because they either have no real concept of it, or it’s a sticky mess of an illness and can color their perception of you. It’s not fun having, either, but I digress. Depression, for me is a lot like having a judge from one of those talent shows on television inspect everything you’ve done and pointing out just how bad it is. Nothing is good enough, any slight mistake or error is magnified to poster-board size so it can be shown to a jury of your peers.
I never get to let go of things, either. I’ll be driving to work and depression will creep up next to me and replay an embarrassing moment, opening the wound up fresh. It’ll poke it’s head in when seeing happy people just to remind me that I am a loathsome sloth and will never be happy because, to be fair, I don’t really deserve it. The worst one for me is the more generic, rationalization of deficiency. This is where I actually build up a logical and rational argument as to why I really am worthless and terrible and a fraud, and that I deserve to be depressed because that’s the way you should feel when you’re as bad as I am.
This is all exhausting. It gets setup as a feedback loop where I put myself down and, when I got to look for the reason why I’m down, my depression gives me a perfectly formatted list of reasons. You can’t win because you’re setting yourself up in a loosing position before you even start.
I got lucky. My wife gave me an ultimatum: Seek help or we’re out. It wasn’t pretty. It was during lunch, in my office. There were tears and a strong sense of urgency to get that help. Once I did, I started feeling better, but it wasn’t enough to keep me going. I was in a high-stress position at work and while talking is nice, it only goes so far. Eventually I changed positions and my doctor prescribed me medicine. So far, I’m doing okay.
That’s not to say that the battle is won and I’m no longer depressed. The reason why I’m even writing this post is to use it as a form of therapy for my depression. Today was a very stressful day, some of it my own doing, some of it not. Thankfully I have an understanding wife and a solid outlet in which to express myself. I know many do not.
What Was the Point Behind All of This?
People shy away from this topic because mental illness is a serious taboo. The stigma is barely addressed, even when we have mentally ill people shooting up gatherings and making our whole country a more dangerous place. It has to stop. Thankfully there are organizations out there to help and mental health is finally getting some sunlight. People have a wide variety of mental disorders and diseases. All of these, once exposed can lead to becoming ostracized and depression and suicide. People who you think are fun-loving and even mannered may be faking it, I know I did for years. The good news is that you’re not alone, and with issues like depression being so common, there is hope. Keep moving, keep trying to make it better, and keep trying to love yourself.