Depression Sucks: How Can You Help

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    No, I’m not fighting cancer, and as far as I know both my children are healthy. I’m not a widow, and I have all of my limbs. I’m not homeless. I have amazing friends and a job that I love. This year has been full of amazing opportunities, so why am I crying? Why am I thinking about how the kids would be better without a sad mom in their lives?

    Am I my own worst enemy, or is it this illness known as depression that seemingly appears out of nowhere and saps all my strength? Am I beating myself up for no reason, because I don’t want to believe that’s the case? For the longest time I tried to keep my emotional battle with depression a secret. I would pull out the happy mask and pretend that everything was fine, because admitting I have a problem…well what’s the point in that, right?

    Admitting I struggle and take meds doesn’t make me human, it says I am weak and opens the doors to friends and strangers that want to help, but often times the only thing in their arsenal are trite expressions and words of advice that I tune out. “You’re a survivor!” “Hey buck up and be strong, you’ve got this!” “Everyone loves you, what do you have to be sad about?” Let me be extremely clear, I don’t choose to be sad; feeling like I am worthless is not a choice I make.

    Yes, I know you mean well, and without a strong support system, maybe I wouldn’t be writing these words. Maybe I would have given up on life. You just want to help and let me know you are there for me to lean on, I get it and I am grateful. Truly I am, but please know that just admitting I am struggling is difficult, and while there are times I would love for you to wrap me in a bear hug while I cry until the tremors subside, there are also times when I just want to climb into my cave and work things out on my own.

    I don’t know how to ask for help or accept it, and really, I don’t even know what would help at times like these. With rest, and anti-depression meds eventually I’ll return to myself, the girl that wants to make everyone laugh. I want to be the life of the party, the one that can cheer you up when you’re feeling sad. I ultimately want to beat down my own sadness and defeat it. No one should feel this pain, the loneliness, or defeat that haunts me. I can’t even find the words that describe this pain, its deep, its encompassing and its debilitating at times.

    It would be better if depression was predictable like bronchitis or a sprained muscle. I wish I could put a timetable on my emotions, and when they’ll return to normal. I wish I could tell you the magical words to make me feel better, or heck, I wish words existed to make us both feel better. If a spa day or vacation could cure these overwhelming feelings of defeat and worthlessness, well I wouldn’t need anyone to suggest it.

    I spend enough time beating myself up, I don’t need any help. Sometimes when you offer words of “encouragement”, I hear you say I’m not doing enough, I don’t want to get better”. Days when I don’t want to get out of bed, I label myself as lazy. When I don’t feel like cooking dinner, I label myself a bad Mom.

    Depression Sucks: How Can You Help?

    What do I need? Time, space, support, empathy and permission are at the top of my list. Give me some time to process my emotions; talking about it can make me feel worse. Support me and let me know that you won’t grow tired of being there when I need you. Try and understand that giving me advice or telling me to get out of the house, quit my job, etc. isn’t necessarily what I need to hear. Tell me it’s okay to be sad. Give me permission to express my feelings without judgment or pressure. Make me laugh; maybe I just need a small distraction. Understand when I say no to lunch or seeing a movie, but don’t give up on me.

    I often try and hide my struggle from even my closest friends because I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be the center of attention or someone else’s problem. I want to get better. I want to fight.

     

    2 COMMENTS

    1. Me too, Kristin. Me too. You are not alone in this fight against the terrible liar and thief that is depression. I never ask for help so it took a long time for me to realize that I was indeed depressed. When I started mess a few months ago (with the intention of treating anxiety) I finally saw the light. I’d say I have more good days now than I did before meds but I’m still trying to figure all this out. So, it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to cry. All we can do is keep moving forward. Hugs to you.

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