Depression

So it’s been in the news a lot, what with the whole Robin Williams thing causing increased awareness — I may be beating a dead horse here, but I will give you my take, and why it has been so hard for me to confront my issues. If you don’t want to walk a dark stream of consciousness, you should skip this status. This is me making my own therapy, by throwing it out there.

I do not wish to impact you with my problems, but I want to write them down and believe that someone has read them.

Alright, I hope this is enough text that the below story falls behind the “read more” line.

When I am down, you, the hypothetical reader will ask “What has got you down?” This is not a problem, as you are just trying to be friendly, be there to help. Whatever I happen to be thinking of at that moment will inevitably be my answer, and we will (perhaps together) tackle this thing. But then, I am still down, for depression is not so easy to fix as making the one thing at the front of my mind go away.

So the conversation continues along this thread, me telling you about my problems, you trying to fix them. When I am depressed, it is not any one thing that has me down, it is a long chain of interrelated causes and effects, a web of things. In the middle of it all is me, because when I am feeling particularly dark, I am certain I am the root cause of all problems (perhaps not so dramatic, but I am trying to paint a picture here).

So you and I continue this conversation until every thread of the web has been cleaned up, and my life is literally perfect. Except for the root, me, and one dangling thread that will never go away — the fact that I don’t feel like I deserve any of this perfection. Even in this perfect world, when I look forward to a life where I have no problems, I still have problems (forgive me for the contradiction, it is mostly a literary device I am using).

The world is not perfect, though, and even the people I am closest to in my life will eventually hit a barrier — and oddly, the barrier ends up sounding the exact same from each person who hits it.

“I can’t help you if you aren’t willing to help yourself.”

There is nothing that sends me to a deeper, darker place than that simple sentence. From inside of me, it doesn’t seem that I am not willing to help myself — I simply do not know how. You give me all of these perfectly logical things I can try, but you are saying them from the point of view of someone who is accustomed to having a “bad day”. While I am doing much better than I used to, and generally only have a few “bad days” in a row, I can say I have had “bad weeks”, “bad months,” and, for a long period, at least one “bad year”, where every day I woke up and could not see why I should have to put up with a world that does not want me, with kindness I do not deserve, with problems I could not solve, with worries I could not leave behind me, with the overwhelming pressure of my own expectations of myself…

I want to work with you, but once you say that sentence, it is very hard for me to ever open up to you again. After that, I will wear my happy mask around you, and you can feel accomplished. You won’t have to worry about my depression any more, and I do not have to worry that I am a burden on you — just to everyone else. So perhaps you have helped, by taking one thread away, a thread that I have attached to all of my closest friends, that makes me feel that I am leaning on you too much, that I have asked too much from you, if I have asked anything at all.. But then, I think as a follow up thought, “Well, one thread is gone. Imagine all the weight I could lift from my shoulders if I was alone?”

The thought above is a difficult one for me to logically approach. I know that being alone will crush me in time, but being around people is crushing me now — and many close to me know the limits of my willpower. Exchanging a problem I have today for a problem I might have tomorrow seems like a dream deal, one that can offer nothing but positive dividends (in my depressed mind’s eye; logically I know it to be awful — the only reason I have not walked that path).

I could keep going, but I feel like if the picture gets any darker, I could just pour black ink on canvas and call it a day. I am sure you get the point.

This has largely been a stream of consciousness, just the thoughts I have when I am having a down day. Every time I have a down day.

So what is the point of this illustration? What do I want out of all of this?

I don’t know. Understanding, I guess.

Forethought is something that, surprisingly, I am incredibly bad at.

I just needed to get this off of my chest.

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