My depression is not the depression you used to have.
So it’s pointless to compare. See what I did there?
Brutal advice won’t take us anywhere. It’ll leave you angry that I didn’t oblige, It’ll leave me frustrated and feeling even more misunderstood than before.
The reality is this:
No one will ever be able to feel the exact same thing you are feeling. The way each and every person responds to pain is unique, even when we strongly believe we are all going through the same things in the same fashion.
We’re not. That’s why it took you 3 months to relieve depression and it takes me almost a decade and counting. That’s why some people split up over their issues and some choose not to. That’s why the amount of time necessary to heal after divorce can be one year for me and an eternity for the lady who told me she could never recover from her husband leaving her.
You see, time is relative. So is life, so are feelings. Sure, we all experience the same basic emotions throughout a certain period. But what we tend to overlook it the particular formulation of these emotions, the unique way they combine for every individual. So if we made a mathematical chart, you’ll see that where your frustration scored 8 out of 10, mine scored a mere 4. Where your heartbreak scored 10 out of 10, mine may have scored the same, but then if we have a look at anger, we’ll be looking at different numbers again. We’re not all feeling the same, even when we think we know exactly what’s inside another person’s soul.
But can we accept that?
When we offer advice, we tend to overlook how that person responds or if they solicited our advice in first place. So we end up feeling like we’ve been talking to walls, getting angry at the careless person who won’t follow any of our precious advice (that ultimately saved us) and telling them they’re not making an effort.
The reality is this:
If you’ve experienced depression then you can remember what it feels like to keep trying despite all odds and feel like you’ve never gotten somewhere. If you’ve experienced the fog that sits on your brain for days, sometimes months, then you should be able to remember how bad you’ve felt whenever the fog dissipated for a day or two and you didn’t quite know which direction to go because you were terrified it will hit again. You might recall the times people got mad at you for always being stuck within your depression, for seeing life through a dark screen, for taking up too much of their time with your own struggles.
You might recall feelings of inadequacy, remorse and constant fear of being yourself because that would mean pushing away everyone you love. And you might remember that in spite of feeling lost, in despair and as if there’s no silver lining left for you, you were the one most in control of your life. You can remember how each time someone made you feel like you had to fix your big problem, you’d wished they never made you feel like you were a problem instead.
Because you aren’t their problem. You never were.
So here I am asking:
If you’ve experienced all this and beyond, and if you’re telling a person you know how they feel, then how could you possibly go ahead and do to them the one thing that once made you question your entire identity?
If someone’s depression wakes such anger in you, then maybe it’s time to have an honest look at what you’re protecting so badly that you don’t want to give up.
A common fear of those who have successfully made ends meet with mental disorder is that being exposed to people with similar struggles will make their own struggles relapse.
But here’s the thing:
Battling depression makes you more sensitive to other people’s needs. It forces you to be on the standing point where you have to understand yourself and understand others as well. It teaches you to be more empathetic and it reinforces the idea that you have to be kind – you never really know what battles someone else is fighting and how strong their personal demons are.
If you have been in that position, then you can remember all the things you found hard to explain to others that were governing your life because you were depressed. You know that being depressed is not a chosen lifestyle but it can leave a considerable mark on your life. You know that being depressed is not a choice, but a mix of factors that are hard to control, track or influence and that sometimes it goes one for years.
Most of all, you know deep down that you are greater than your depression.
You remember very well each time you had a good day, because those have been milestones to your way up, and even if you’re still not seeing the light, those days are your strongest reference to what it means to feel alive, healthy and invincible.
You remember that you shared good moments, laughs, life altering experiences with the people in your life, that weigh much more than any struggle.
You remember that you pushed through with everything you had and sometimes you pushed even harder to get to the shore, even if you didn’t know whether something or someone was waiting for you there.
You remember each time you felt hurt or misunderstood by your friends who said they’ve been there but only managed to push you further into isolation, guilt and remorse because you made everything about yourself, again.
You remember how you wished they’d just hold you or sit with you until you could breathe again.
Finally, you remember not knowing what to do or how to behave anymore just to avoid making others angry at you again.
So tell me, do you want to remember?