Sinking like a Ship
When Emotionally Healthy People Tell You How Not to be Depressed
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” ~Johnny Cash
Two days ago I saw a headline that read, “6 Steps to Ridding Yourself of Depression.” I didn’t click on the article. Why would I? Clearly this person has never been depressed, or if they have their depression must not feel like my depression. Would it in fact only take six steps to alter the chemicals in my brain and be cured?
As long as I can remember I’ve struggled with depression. Surely it can’t be that easy.
A few months ago I read an article written by a young lady on what to do when you’re having a panic attack. She’s probably half my age. I’m open minded to how informed and intelligent the younger generation is nowadays and how they do things differently. So I clicked on it.
“Make a cup of green tea and relax.”
Are you shitting me?
My version of a panic attack is freaking out and screaming, “I’m dying, call 911, I can’t breathe, the room is spinning, I’m going down, I’m going down,” and in the process traumatizing everyone around me.
In other words, the last thing I’m thinking about is making a cup of green tea and relaxing. It never occurred to me that was even an option.
Once I do eventually calm down everyone in the room now needs counseling.
People experience things differently and each experience is unique to that person, yet I find that, too often, those that are emotionally healthy tend to tell me how not to be depressed.
As I decrease my dosage of Lexapro I sink more and more. I want to stop taking it. I’m desperate to stop taking it. I want to believe. I need to believe that the mood stabilizer is my cure all but it isn’t quite working out that way, at least not yet.
A few days ago I spent the entire day in bed. I justified it with the weather. What’s more cozy than staying curled up in bed on a snowy day?
It was total bullshit.
I was exhausted from carrying the dead weight of depression around.
Depression is similar to substance abuse in the sense that you relapse. No matter how hard you try, no matter how strong willed you are, no matter what route you take, no matter how deep into your recovery you may be there is always a relapse.
Yes, I eat healthy. Yes, I exercised today. Yes, I wrote. Yes, I read. Yes, I meditated. Yes, I tried the “just stop being depressed,” approach people often tell me. Yes, I tried “snapping out of it.” Yes, I talked to someone (that doesn’t experience depression and was rather dismissive). Yes, I did something out in the community so I could feel rewarded. Yes, I spent time with my family. Yes, I forced myself to keep going. Yes, I was faking it so you wouldn’t notice.
Yes, I’ve done everything that every person who has never experienced depression has told me to do.
I’m still sinking. I’m still sinking because it’s beyond my control.
Sinking isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Sometimes I need to sink. Sometimes that’s the only way to rejuvenate, get back up on my feet and try again.
At the same time sinking is exhausting, and heavy hearted, miserable and lonely but I know what’s best for me because it’s my experience. I’m the expert when I’m experiencing depression. I knew it was coming. The manic set in and hung out for a few weeks and then boom. I hit rock bottom.
What I don’t need is people helicoptering over me as if I’m contaminated by some disease avoidable to them by wearing a hazmat suit.
What I do need is to feel loved and maybe the lack of that feeling is due to the depression or chemical imbalance in my brain. Either way, I desperately need to feel loved.
Will someone love me? Please love me. Depression is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me.
It’s different with my family and friends. They simply want to fix it but it isn’t that simple.
What I need is your love, patience, support and acceptance. Sometimes I feel as if I’m climbing up a mountain and I keep getting kicked off. I need to know that you’ll be waiting at the bottom for me, with no words, no advice and no suggestions on how I can be cured.
All I need is for you to cheer me on. The rest I can, and will, figure out on my own.