Tag Archives: depression

Changed.

We were talking and joking and I said something that made you both laugh. My comment made you both agree that nothing has changed. That I haven’t changed.

This was a little concerning to me. My mind spun for a moment before I drew myself back.

I haven’t changed? In over a year since you haven’t seen me, nothing has changed? I’m worried by that sentiment because I know where I was a year ago. I’m coming to one of three conclusions:

1.) I hid it a lot better than I thought I did while I knew you. I must have isolated myself to the point where you really don’t see a change in me since then. Maybe I put on some sort of mask when I was with you and didn’t let anything I was feeling leak from me. The anxiousness and irritability and sadness and utter emptiness… Maybe I kept them all and more from you undetected.

2.) Maybe you saw all those things and still see them now. And that’s concerning because I don’t feel them now. At least not as consistently and constantly. I didn’t feel them sitting there with you two days ago. So if you continue to see those things in me, I’m confused as to how.

3.) You ignored everything I’d said to you in the past. You ignored the pain in my eyes and wrote me off. Even when I told you it was there, you still chose to see only the good things I presented. So of course now I look no different. Of course now I sound the same. Because you aren’t listening. You’re choosing what to hear. You wrote off my depression as just me whining or complaining or being pessimistic. A year ago, you were ignoring… me.

You know, the third point is the one I’m afraid is correct. And that sucks. When I was severely depressed, there were a few people around me who … hurt me. Not intentionally. Not maliciously. I would highly doubt they even know.

I had someone reproach me for not getting enough sleep at a time I was afraid to go to sleep because I’d have bad dreams and it would end in me waking up and having to face yet another day. I had someone tell me how much they cared about me only to never make time for me again. I had people talk down to me, belittle me, and offer a lot of challenge and little to no support. When I told someone I’d been hurt by others during that time because of all of this, she replied, “Well, what do you want them to do?” or “What do you expect them to do?” in a condescending tone. I even had someone, after I told him people never cared enough to follow up with me, promise me he would follow up.

He never did.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I needed or wanted from these people. I guess I wanted to know I was cared for. Because they would tell me they did care for me but then there was never any evidence to support that.

I don’t know what my point is. I guess if someone tells you they are depressed or severely depressed, know they chose those words carefully and they know what they mean. Know that talking down to someone is hurtful and makes them feel like you think they’re worthless. Know that when someone tells you something incredibly painful, you should probably follow up, not act like it never happened.

Know that I have changed. In the year since you’ve seen me, I’m not the same person anymore. The depression is mild and the more severe bouts come in waves that are far apart from one another. I’m not drowning anymore. Breathing comes easily a good, fair amount of the time now. I’m not suffocating anymore. There are still incredibly hard days and some of those days turn into weeks. But now the good days outnumber the bad and, when you last were with me, the good days were so few and far between that I couldn’t remember what they tasted like.

I’m afraid that the fact that you don’t see that change means you were never really looking to begin with.

-Melissa

Choosing.

I don’t like being around people when I feel like that. I feel like I’m infecting them.

I can feel waves, like heat, radiating from me. This bubble surrounding me that those standing too close are trapped within. I feel their awkwardness when they can sense something is wrong but don’t know how to ask. I can’t make eye contact with them but I can feel the stolen glances they brave toward me. I can feel my silence- it’s palpable. But I feel enclosed in my own gloom.

And my thoughts make me ache. It’s your choice to feel this way, you know. You just have to stop. You’re making this hard on everyone, you’re ruining their time. Choose to feel better. It’s your fault you feel this way. You’re not doing anything about it. You have to do something about it. It’s your fault.

And then there’s tears in my eyes.

It’s your fault.

And it is. It is my fault. I should just smile. I should pull myself up by my bootstraps. It doesn’t matter how. I should just do it. I must be choosing to feel this way – I must be.

Just relax.

Just smile.

Just feel better.

Just talk.

Just act.

Just be better.

Just choose.

-Melissa

Superwoman.

I think there’s a superwoman in my head.

Really, I do. I think she takes charge and gets stuff done and pushes forward. I think my ideas come from her, my grit comes from her, my strength comes from her.

I think she gets defeated sometimes. I think she goes to battle with the other voices and forces in my head and she looses. Before I know it, she’s buried beneath the debris of the fight and I can’t find her anywhere.

It’s in these moments (or days or weeks) that I’m at a loss. It’s when I find myself taking every possible minute to myself. When I find myself giving all that I can to my job but that’s almost nothing. It’s these moments that I find myself desperately trying to figure out what to do, searching things on the internet like “how to deal with depression at work” and “should you tell your boss you’re depressed.” It’s when I look up therapists in the local area, only to come to the conclusion that I can’t get myself to spend that much money.

I’m tired and I’m sad. This day is no where near over and I can’t find superwoman.

-Melissa

Torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I felt tears growing in my eyes at the words. They were harsh, bitter. I thought about how I could do just that – keep my mouth shut and not infect those around me with my own irritability. I really should just listen and not add anything to the conversation. I mapped out conversations, wondered over how I could successfully deflect, agonized over how unhelpful I’ve been, worried over how much I revealed about myself.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I couldn’t argue with the words. They were true, weren’t they? I did need to talk less. Everyone would say I needed to talk more but, I mean, what do they know? They don’t know me like I know me. They don’t know my thoughts. They don’t know the kind of person I am. Because what good do my words add? And if they add no good, why say them?

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

And I don’t need to talk. No, people need to be heard. That’s one of the only things people want – to feel heard. So I should give that to them. I should listen. That’s all I should do. Let them talk. Prompt them to talk. Give them my undivided attention. And I should stop giving advice or adding my input; it’s not helpful and they don’t need it. What if it’s even harmful? I should just keep my mouth shut. They don’t need my input. They don’t need me.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

The words, harsh and bitter as they were, were also silent. Your own thoughts often are after all. And, I don’t know what your thought life is like, but mine isn’t always pretty. It’s so interesting to me that, when thoughts like that fly through my mind, no matter how painful, you just… keep moving. You smile, you hold you head high, and you keep walking, even through the torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

-Melissa

Helpless.

“How dare you.

There was a tragedy placed before me and those were the three words that rang through my mind. They were at the very forefront, refusing to be ignored.

“How dare you.”

I filled in the silence that followed:

“How dare you be so selfish. How dare you be so wrapped up in your own damn mind that, even as this story is being shared with you, you can’t push away your pain. How dare you be holding back tears because of your ‘pain’ when there are so many people in this world who are going through SO MUCH WORSE things than you. You are being selfish. You need to get outside yourself. You need to be there for the people around you. You are so consumed with the fact that no one has reached out to you that you’ve stopped reaching out to others. You’ve isolated yourself. You can barely handle other people’s pain because you can’t handle your own. How dare you. You are supposed to be able to carry other people burdens. Why can’t you put yours aside for a moment? Why can’t you get out of your own head? You should be taking care of people- loving people. Isn’t that what you do? You haven’t been doing that lately. You don’t even care about the people around you. You’re being selfish, only caring about yourself. How dare you. This is not how you are supposed to act. You need to snap out of this. It’s ridiculous. You need to get up. You need to do something. All you want is for someone to see you and, yet, you keep to yourself. You want people to ask how you are and then lie when they do. How dare you. How dare you get so wrapped up in your own problems like this. You are supposed to be better than this. What you are dealing with is nothing- NOTHING- compared to other peoples pain. How dare you. How dare you. How dare you.

I had no words to fight back and other peoples pain layered itself on my own and tears came to my eyes and weight came to my arms and my hands shook and my breath fought against me and I tried to think of ways I could help and my mind swirled and I wondered if there was anything that could be done and sadness hit me again and again and again until I fell. Helpless.

-Melissa

Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Positive.

Occasionally, I do my part in scrolling through Pinterest. And, by ‘occasionally,’ I clearly mean a lot. Probably too much. My favorite category is quotes. I like words. I adore the fact that only 26 letters can make so many words that can be arranged in an infinite number of ways and you can make them say whatever you want.

It’s funny how, even with all the possibilities, we can often find ourselves at a loss. But that’s beside the point.

The point is, in a lot of the quotes lately there seems to be this theme of ‘if you’re positive, life will be positive.’ Yeah, I know. Apparently all you have to do is think happy thoughts and then you’ll be happy.

Wish someone would have told me sooner!

The problem is that this only works for a little while. I mean, maybe for you it works all the time. But for the rest of us… It seems like a bit of wishful thinking with a lot left to be desired. When my mind gets on a train of negative thought, it is almost impossible to derail. The pressure to think positively either pisses me off or weighs me with a guilt I can’t readily escape from. Even when I can get myself to be a bit more positive, it almost just upsets me more because I feel fake.

And what about those that deal with severe depression? Do you really think that telling them to have more happy thoughts will make them happy? There’s no way!

Sure, thinking more positively can have a positive effect on us but to say that it will change our life is just a lie. I’m all for embracing true joy and being grateful for all you have but I also have to take everything else I to account. We were given the ability to have emotion. Being happy all the time can often be a masking of all of the emotion that we have deemed unpleasant.

I know I’m ranting, and for that, I apologize. I just… If I had depression and I kept seeing posts about how if I wanted to be happy, I would just do it, I think I would just feel worse.

And I just don’t want anyone to feel worse.

-Melissa