Depression is something I have dealt with my entire life and many millions more in this world face the same daily struggles themselves. While I don't feel there is as big of a social stigma as there used to be, it still does still exist. I am writing today to maybe break some of that stigma down even further and open dialogue into the subject.
I am sure for those who suffer through it, you are used to hearing things such as; you should just try smiling more, find a therapist, get on pills for it, just get away and take time for yourself, just get over it, and many other types of "advice". It would be great if things worked that way, wouldn't it? For those who know somebody who does deal with depression, it's hard to understand sometimes why they could even be upset. They have a great career, family, or maybe fame and fortune. What could they possibly be sad about?
I have a great wife and kids that I love dearly. I have a successful career. I have my own home and vehicle. Still, it makes no difference when it comes to my depression. I carry a lot of self hate about who I am and how I see myself in comparison to others. For every nice thing someone says about me or anything creative I put out there, I find two more reasons why they are wrong and are just being nice. For every successful goal I complete, I remind myself I just got lucky to finish it at all.
We all deal with depression differently. Some find ways to treat it and improve. Some push it down inside and carry on as if nothing was wrong until they can't find a way to push it down any more. Some suffer and do nothing at all. Unfortunately, there are some who take a more permanent solution of ending the pain.
I am the kind of person who hides mine with humor. I find it easy to make people smile and a lot of times I find a measure of happiness just seeing them happy. In my darkest times, I push it down before I hit a cycle where it becomes too large for me to deal with. I push everyone away, think dark thoughts and then eventually come out of it ready to be social again. I have a great circle of friends who know that I am hitting one of those cycles and they keep an eye on me when they notice it. I have been truly blessed to have friends like them, but I have hurt way too many people with that method. Not everyone has that option though and even those who do may not be fully reachable even by those friends. Recently, it all became too much for me and I tried to find my own permanent solution despite my friends trying desperately to get me to stop.
I am not looking for sympathy, in fact, it might even make it worse. I am writing this to break the stigma of talking about depression openly, but I am also writing it to hold myself accountable to never take that course again. I am writing it so those here who read it who suffer or know somebody who does, hold themselves accountable to not take that measure either.
So, the question becomes "Well, how do we fix the problem?" and the answer is, I don't know. There is no perfect solution that is a one size fits all. What I do know is for both those suffering and for those who are wanting to help, the best thing you can have is patience. It is a SLOW process to work through that may take several forms of therapy to get there. Some won't work for you and that's ok. Take your first step and ask for help. Find something that works and if you hit a setback take another step forward, then another and another until you find something that works. For me, my first step was talking to strangers on a social media app as weird as it sounds. I get both positive and negative responses on my stances in life, but that's alright by me. I am talking to people and I am getting my feelings out. This is what works for me for now. It won't be my only step, but it is my first one.
Finally, for those who do suffer from depression, I need you to remember one thing. No matter what your head tells you, you are not alone.
If you or a loved one is considering drastic measures for dealing with depression, please try to talk to someone first.