I’ve had depression for so long that I should be used to the way it shapes not only the world around me, but how the world perceives me. Surprisingly, I’m actually not a negative person. A fact that takes quite a bit of digging into my soul to discover.
Unfortunately, my soul is coated with a thick, murky black surface that clouds everything. That blackness is, of course, depression,
I don’t entirely hate the fact that I have depression, as it has always served as my artistic muse. While suffering from the “attacks” of depression, I find that I can write stronger prose and create more moving music. And yeah, haunting photography that I actually like at times (all photos in this article are mine).
These moments of artistic clarity are few and far between. More often than not, depression coats my mind in a thick layer of cement. I can’t remove, I can’t react. The simple act of existing in the here and now becomes impossible.
Instead, my mind engages in acts of self-sabotage. It revisits all of the painful moments of my past and lingers there as if to say, “You can never escape the fact that you’re a horrible person.”
Depression says and does different things to different people. For me, it centers around the thoughts that I’m the worst person in the universe, and that I “don’t deserve” just about anything good and positive. My depression favors that last one a lot. “I don’t deserve to be happy, I don’t deserve to be successful, I don’t deserve to get a good night’s sleep.”
It makes me brush away real problems in my life, if not ignore them completely. Recently, I had my bottom two wisdom teeth removed. I’d needed them removed for, heck, 7 years or more.
They’d hurt for at least 2 straight years, but with my depression, I both ignored and embraced the pain. Hearkening back to those depressive sentiments, I felt I deserved to be in pain.
This whole mess started when I was a child, though I was officially diagnosed with depression at the age of 13. I can remember experiencing these feelings long before that, even as early as age 8. The fact that children experience depression is a very disconcerting thought to me, even now. I worry that when I have children, I’ll pass this illness on to them.
It keeps me up at night, makes me wonder how I’ll be able to comfort them when I can’t even comfort myself half the time.
Everyone wants to tell you their “cure” for depression, but I want to make clear that there is no cut and dry cure. There are only ways to manage symptoms, that’s it. For many people with this illness, symptom management comes down to medication.
I first started taking depression medication at the age of 13 and I absolutely hated it. Instead of feeling the rare happiness and extreme lows, I felt nothing. It made me very numb, and I really didn’t want to sleepwalk through life.
So, at the age of 18, I quit the medication I’d been taking (Lexapro) cold turkey. To spare an extremely long story, that wasn’t the greatest idea I’d had.
It was a bad idea that lasted several years, as I wouldn’t pursue psychiatric treatment again until the age of around 22 or 23. I’m 24 now, so the addition of medication (Wellbutrin) is still a new thing. I feel better than I did, that’s for sure. However, there’s no real perfect solution, and I often find myself suffering the same sort of depression “attacks.”
I wish there was an easy way to explain to the people around me that I look and act a certain way because of an illness, not because of my personality or reaction to certain situations. For example, I love my job and want to find some way to properly convey that. Unfortunately, I’m the type of person to sit in silence all day just doing the work assigned to me.
I like being busy because it distracts me from the stress, worry, and sadness of my depression. When I’m working, I’m no longer thinking about how disgusting of a person I am. I’m no longer self consciously deprecating myself in my mind, scolding myself for the clothes I wear, for not wearing makeup, for not caring.
This is why it’s so important for people with depression, not just myself, to try and seek out a light wherever possible. There are various lights in my life, various moments where I’m truly free and happy. It’s these moments I want to show people, because I feel like if they could only see me in those brief periods of respite, they’d know who I really am.
I’m not this depressed hermit, or this extremely uncomfortable person to be around. I’m an empathetic person who genuinely cares for others, who loves artistic pursuits, and has a goofy sense of humor. A person who actually loves k-pop, including this song (nope, not embarrassed at all).
My hope is that with honest posts like these, I can start managing my depression better. I want to be the person I daydream in my head. The conversation starter, the fun person to be around, someone who’s not perfect, but who’s comfortable nonetheless. Depression sucks, but it’s important to remember that you are not your depression.
You are that light you daydream about. Trust me, that part of you is always in there, because it is you. And if that aspect of yourself could say anything, it’d tell depression to go back into the dark hole it came from.