Smile, the worst is yet to come. We’ll be lucky if we ever see the sun. That is a line from Mikky Ekko’s Smile, a song I adore.
When engulfed by illusions of varying thicknesses of untethered-ness, songs you adore are pretty significant. I could say many things about Mikky Ekko, but I’ll settle for a line – he is one of the most human lyricists I have ever listened to by far.
Now, I don’t mean to shit on the silver linings of the world, and I realize it is inarguably a depressing line. Well, it is fitting then, as I am an inarguably depressed woman.
Along with it, my depression brought me a penchant for dark humor and painful honesty.
I see both in that line.
Don’t get this wrong – there is absolutely nothing remotely romantic about depression. It is cold, cruel, and unapologetically ugly. But depression also leaves little room for comforting lies you wish you could tell yourself.
Depression is also unfathomable until you have gone through it. And I know, in a way, it is futile to try and portray it with simple words, pretty or otherwise.
Even while I was mildly depressed (and I was for a few years), I could not have imagined this illness at a more severe level. (Surprise for me, yay!)
I was diagnosed a few months ago with severe clinical depression. A few years ago, I juggled the many responsibilities in my life, and my budding depression was a very minor detail that I could sweep under the rug with one-hour long afternoon naps that helped “reset” my brain in between hours of being a highly functional individual.
It worked remarkably. I spent high school, almost “effortlessly” juggling academics, extracurriculars, friendships, and play-times with adorable little nephews.
I was the model student/model child/model whatever else people decided I was and I lived off of the pride that came with those accomplishments. The need not to ‘fail’ or disappoint kept me going.
Until it couldn’t. High school seems like a distant memory now, although it has only been a few years. I now am a very different person than I was then, more so in some ways than others.
Most importantly, however, I have surrendered pathetically to what is now the center of my life – depression. I say ‘pathetically’, but I also know I did not choose to succumb. I gave out.
I have a theory that there is only so much our brains can handle before they crumble. And mine did. I am far from functioning, let alone ‘highly.’
I no longer handle responsibilities well (or at all, really). I ignored and belittled my depression, and it took over, as if with a mission to prove its might. And I gloriously fell apart.
I barely eat, sleep, or do anything to further the dreams I have had since I was little. I am now a hermit whose friends mostly have decided to not bother anymore. I am a mess.
Aside from short surges of misery and guilt, I don’t feel much most of the time. I have been seeing a doctor and been on medication for a few months now, but it is quite the struggle.
I not only have to build myself back up from these crumbs of misery I have been reduced to, I know I will have to spend the next few years “fixing” the life I have been helpless in the destruction of.
In a way, that is also the worst part of it all – paying for your own misery.
A friend of mine admitted to me, a few months ago, that she is “a bit” depressed.
We talked about it for a while (she is one of the few people who knows my situation) and I suggested that she see a therapist. She refused, and explained to me that she did not like talking to strangers about private matters.
‘Besides,’ she said to me, ‘I am doing fine enough.’ I had no right to push her on it, so I didn’t. But my heart broke a little bit, as I panicked at the thought of her getting worse.
That I did, did not mean she would too. But depression is an illness. It is likely to get worse if not treated.
I suggested it again a few times after that, but she would not budge. I wanted to tell her how very wrong she could be. That her “fineness” could be an illusion waiting to betray her at any convenient moment.
I wanted to scream at her that it could get worse, and it was one of the most terrifying things that could happen to a person.
She was doing fine (she is very high functional). Yet, there was no guarantee that she would keep being “fine.”
Depression does not go away because it is fiercely ignored. I wanted to describe to her all the gory details of my own depression, if only to scare her into taking action.
But that would not be fair of me, as that would likely come off as a ‘my pain is worse than yours’ thing. I didn’t want to undermine her pain. And in writing this, I don’t want it to undermine the pain of anyone who is depressed, mildly or otherwise.
But I do think, if you are aware you are depressed (or you have suspicions), you should try and seek all the help you can get. Please don’t let yourself think you don’t need help because you currently have your life together.
Depression is an illness, and it is treatable. But only if you take the first step towards getting help. There is nothing consoling about watching your life fall apart with helplessness and a careless kind of numbness that you know you will pay for even after you recover from your illness.
Even if you are in a situation where you cannot get professional help, make efforts to take care of yourself. Reach out to someone, anyone really, who you think might be able to help for the time being.
Don’t wait for it to get worse before you decide it is problem enough. You are too precious for that. You are also too fragile for that.
You can do more than smile — you can fight.