No, You Can't Just Suck It Up When You're Depressed

When I am depressed, I tend to avoid reading about other people’s symptoms, because it is usually too painful or hits too close to home. Even though I know so many of us feel the same way, when I am down, I often just want to unplug and not think about the stigma, the pain, and all the other problems that come along with mental illness. However, as if on cue, I will come across stuff like this:

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Now I’ve known this mental health advocate since she started her page to help others, and I know she is open about her experiences. I am not sure what “attention seeking” is when it comes to mental health, but most of her posts are just her sharing a personal story. You can go to her page to further confirm that.

The second type of post that raises an alarm is this one: 

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For this post, let me clarify, that I know first-hand the more I try to keep a positive disposition about the world, the better I tend to feel. But funny thing about clinical depression, is that one of the symptoms is not being able to do that.

I get all revved up, mad and upset, preparing to verbally spar with the offenders. I get heated about telling those random internet people what’s what and defending my friends. I am going to change someone’s mind. So that’s the point when I stop, and I think it over.

I think about how, sometimes it’s writing day and I have to peel myself off of my pillow to sit upright and start typing. On those days, my fingers feel clumsy. My English is pushing through a fog of negative thoughts, so I end up typing the wrong words and making confusing edits. But I keep writing anyway. I think about how I hyperventilate before I go on air to do a live stream, but I go on anyway.

I (and I am sure many like me) agree that those things are super simple! One-two-three motions. Less talking, more doing. I too realize how it should be easy enough to just start the day. After all, our lives are too short to be sitting around and doing nothing. Since that’s the case, I wish there was more understanding as to how difficult it must be for a person to not be able to get out of bed? For others to be able to consider the pain that could keep someone down, even with the fear of so much judgement towards them?

Some days, the fear of being judged will get me moving. I would rather be walking around, a zombie moving through the motions of living, rather than know that someone thinks I’m lazy, unmotivated, or just trying to get attention. I put on the same makeup, iron my shirts, do everything just as I would on days when I am feeling well, all in hopes no one will notice that I am not. I quietly go to the doctor, I quietly take my medication when I am home. I think to myself, come on, how hard is this? At least I am not in bed, at least I am living. Now, based on this description, what do you think, am I really? I am all for tough love, but those with long-term illnesses are the wrong crowd for that.

Maybe next time, if someone you know (or you) is about to say “Ugh, it’s just for attention” or “You know, some people have it worse” or my favorite, “start thinking positively and things will fall into place”; ask them to take a pause, then attempt to assume the best in people.

Here are some sample sentences:: “It seems like they need help since this is how (he/she) is trying to get attention” and “Everything seems fine, and this person is still upset, maybe something is really wrong” and “He/She seems so negative a lot, what could be causing that.”

What I am hoping to avoid in the future is the scenario where a person’s mental health gets worse as he/she attempts to hide any aweful feelings to avoid being perceived as negative.

What I am asking for here, is super simple. So simple, I can’t believe I have to ask for it (see what I did there), next time you are hurt and someone assumes the worst of you, ask them if they ever considered being compassionate. You can follow it up with, "Is that, difficult? Hmm, well maybe you need to think more compassionately and things will fall into place."