Sunday, December 18, 2016

You are not your depression

I've taken a lot of flak for my suggestion that instead of antidepressants we need to perhaps be still and learn the lessons that sadness can teach us. In part I take that back. What I've concluded instead is that in this world where people HAVE to keep functioning to feed the machine then anti-depressants basically save us all.

Depressions of the not serious sort tend to lift naturally within 12 weeks I've read. So until we all can get 12 weeks worth of holidays a year that means antidepressants.

Now, just to get everybody mad at me again I've been ruminating on the selfishness of depression. The only reason I can write this is because of the "been there, done that" principle.

People who have depression of the worst order are, by the nature of the disease, stuck horribly in a place of self and only self. Self and pain. Self and anger. Self and victimhood. It swallows them up alive. Unfortunately it swallows up your friends and family. Your friends eventually disappear and your family is usually left decimated, frustrated, angry, afraid, broken. I've seen it happen many times over my lifetime.

A person who is depressed has no energy for others. They can barely see them there. They are screaming "See me! See my pain! See my pain! Leave me alone. Don't leave me alone. See my pain!" They have become, over time and untreated I suppose, victims of victimhood. The minute you label yourself a victim you're lost. You are not a victim. You may be a victim "of" but you are not a victim. Because that implies helplessness. That demands being taken care of by others. And that's okay. For awhile. But when it goes on beyond reason Depression becomes familiar. It becomes your operating centre where all the outside influences are taken in and appraised through a distorted lens and reconfigured to feed the depression. Because it needs feeding. Constantly. Particularly if you now have made Depression your identity.

Your social circles are now other depressed people. But you can sure relate to them. In fact, only them. Around you the friends you had, the families who love you are incapable of understanding you. Only your depressed friends, usually on the internet, really do. And that's okay. For awhile. Your friends and family have challenged you and made you angry and frustrated by not understanding your pain. They don't understand and you can't make them understand because that would require energy you don't have. But your internet friends, your depressed friends: They "understand." Because they are the only ones who understand you without much effort on your part, the whole dynamic can consume your entire life to the exclusion of even trying to relate to others. This is not good. And all that time you spend on the computer reviewing your pain with others is usually only possible because in the background of your pain you're being taken care of. By someone. Usually someone who loves you.

I've seen this happen with disease too. People become their disease. Their whole life is about socializing with others with their disease. Surfing the internet about their disease. Talking to loads of other people with their disease. It's a comfy safe and wonderful place to be. For awhile. But you know you gotta move on. You know you do. Your world is meant to be bigger than this narrow life you've carefully constructed around you. Or, in some cases, others have constructed for you in your victimhood. You have to move on. Because you are neither your depression nor your disease. You are a human being and the life you could have misses you. The friends you lost miss you. Your family misses you. They have done their best to take care of you. Theirs was a selfless act of love. And you must repay them. All they ask is that you come back to them as the fully-functioning human being you used to be. And that can't happen unless you let go. Take a leap of faith.
And take an anti-depressant if that is what it takes.

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