Friday, November 15, 2013


Here's another post on depression for you.

I don't remember exactly how long I was depressed, but I remember it being really bad when I was 13.  Once it hit, I withdrew from pretty much everything I enjoyed, I stayed home all of the time, I avoided my friends, I gained a ton of weight, and I spent the majority of my days crying without really understanding why.

I never suffered from a lack of support or love.  I'm not coming from a place of "no one understood, I was completely alone, my life was terrible" - none of that applied to me.

The thing that was the worst about being depressed probably wasn't the crushing weight of a sadness I didn't understand.  It was knowing that I was disappointing people.  Knowing that I was being a terrible friend, sister, and daughter.  Knowing that I was being awful, but believing I was completely incapable of doing anything about it because I just couldn't do anything, and the unbelievable weight of the guilt.

That's the worst part.  The guilt.  No matter what, people are going to make you feel guilty for being depressed.  It may be purposeful - "You don't have any reason to be depressed.  There is nothing wrong with your life.  There are people everywhere who have it so much worse than you."
More often than not, though, it was inadvertent.  My friends would invite me to do something; I would say no.  They would be hurt, because I said no to being with them every time, in favor of staying at home alone.  Of course they were hurt.  They had every right to be.  They didn't know what was going on with me.  As previously mentioned, it is really hard to talk.

They would call me out on it.  Why wouldn't I do anything with them?  Why was I avoiding them?  Why wasn't I there for them when they needed me?

It was terrible. I was terrible.  I knew it then.  I still believe it now.  I missed so much, and hurt my friends so badly, because I wasn't there.  

And so I felt guilty.  I felt enormously guilty because I couldn't be there, because I wasn't there, and for goodness sake why couldn't I do anything?  Every day there was a new thing to feel guilty about.  Every day I was letting someone down because I couldn't get myself to do something, and why couldn't I do anything?

It's been 7 years since those days.  I was finally put on medicine and starting sorting through all of the emotional messes I still had buried within me.  And once I was able to deal with it, I was also able to realize something:

I was sick.  I was SICK.  I had an actual, diagnosed problem, and I was sick.  There was something really wrong.  Chemical imbalances in the brain, or what have you, but it. was. real.  I think a lot of the guilt I had stemmed from the fact that I didn't feel like other people believed that my depression was a real thing.  It was something a dramatic teenager convinced herself that she had in order to excuse herself from doing things.  

No.  It was real.  There was something really wrong with me.
(It is still so relieving to type those words out, even now.)

There was something wrong with me, and - right, wrong, or indifferent - I did what I had to do to get better.  Staying in was better than going out for me.  All of those times I said no were because I was trying to protect myself from further hurt.  I did what I had to do to get better.  It took me years to understand that yes, I had hurt my friends.  I had hurt my family.  The fact that I didn't do it on purpose, or that I didn't want to hurt them didn't change the fact that I did hurt them.  But I also came to understand that they loved me, and since they loved me, they would forgive me.

They have, and it's still just so amazing to know that.

I guess the bottom line is, people are going to make you feel guilty for being depressed, and that really sucks.  But if they really love you, they will forgive you.  In the meantime, you have to do what you have to do to get better.  I wish there was an easy, one-size-fits-all solution for being depressed, but unfortunately that's never an option in life.  Just remember:

1) If they love you, they will forgive you
2) You have to take care of yourself, and do what you need to do to get better
3) Never feel guilty for being depressed.  It isn't something to be guilty about or ashamed of.

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