There’s this picture of depression people like to paint. It’s the Cymbalta commercial, or girl who just got dumped out of the blue and is now wailing into her pillow. All this crying, sweat pants, spoonfuls of ice cream straight out of the tub. It’s mascara stains and a loud, unnerving howl. Piercing. Very much an announcement of: HERE I AM, THIS IS HOW I FEEL.
I suffer from clinical depression. I have since I was 12 years old. I’m medicated and work to find the things that help me. I’m 100% functional. I have a full time job. I’m goofy and ridiculous and laugh a laugh that’s borderline obnoxious. But I still have days I struggle, days when I’m reminded depression is an ongoing battle and that’s going to be okay.
I’m fairly emotional, in that I cry at SUPER shitty commercials. I cry whenever my friends cry. I cry at the news. I cry when I see dead squirrels on the side of the road. Someone once told me this made me an empath, so i’ve been running with that shit ever since. Emotional? NO, SIR, I’M AN EMPATH!
But the thing about depression — it’s not what you think.
When I freely cry at things, it’s actually me at my healthiest. Because at the core, it’s who I am. I care too much and get invested in fictional TV characters. My heart is like a gusher. You remember those things? Delicious. And probably giving us all cancer as kids, but let’s not go there. That’s my heart. No hard shell. Slightest bit of pressure, and it all comes pouring out.
Depression is the emptying of all that.
Depression is not crying or being upset or disappointed.
Depression is like the gutting of a pumpkin. Cute when we do it for Halloween, but probably not cute if you’re the pumpkin.
With depression, you’re the pumpkin.
It always takes me a little bit to recognize when I’m in a depressive episode. And that’s because depressive episodes, for me, are not loud. They are not that girl wailing into her pillow. They creep. They slowly invade. And then one day, you wake up and realize you’ve been in autopilot and you’re filled with…nothing.
I would trade nothingness for tears any damn day.