The "D" Word

Depression has been a hot topic on the internet lately.

Since the death of Robin Williams, I would say that the number of depression-related blog posts and articles that I encounter on a daily basis has tripled. There have been so many wonderful insights to the issue; ones that allow readers to see past the "depression stigma," and view the disease as what it really is...a major issue in our society. Of course, there have been other points of view that come across as completely ignorant and hateful. Those view points are the reason that depression has become such a taboo concept.

As a blogger, I have learned to be pretty open about my personal hardships. If you visit my site often, you know about my own struggles with anxiety, depression, and trichotillomania. I write about these things not because I seek attention or self-affirmation of some sort, but because I know that there are millions of other people out there who deal with the exact same things. Reading the blogs and articles of others who have the same issues gave me the courage to share my own experiences, in hopes that someone like me will read my blog and gain some courage themselves.

That's why I'm using this post to throw in my two cents on the depression topic.

I came across a quote on Instagram the other day. It was horrible, but accurate, so I took a screenshot of the picture and saved it on my phone. It reads:

"What is depression like?" he whispered.
"It's like drowning. Except you can see everyone around you breathing."
Upon reading it, I was a little disturbed, because it just sounds so...morbid. However, after giving it a few minutes thought, I realized that it was so disturbing because it was true. That is exactly what it feels like to be depressed. Deep down inside, you want to live and have fun and take advantage of what you know can be a beautiful life. But...you have no desire, or energy to make it happen. You become really good at faking smiles, and making people think that you are okay when you're not. You blame things on being tired, or sick, or busy...when you're really just too sad to function.
There are glimmers of happiness, brought on by certain situations and people. When you are back alone in your room though, you begin to question if those glimmers were even real because they seemed to pass by so quickly. It never takes very long for the fog to come rolling back into your mind. Then, you're back at square one...staring at the ceiling and hating yourself because you are too weak to fight back. You wouldn't even begin to know how to fight back.
If you read my last post, you know that I was in Savannah last weekend for my friend Amber's 21st birthday. It really was a great weekend. I was genuinely happy and carefree for a good portion of the time we were there. There was one particular night though, where I felt exactly like the person in that quote up there. Our first night in town, we went to a club. It was crowded and full of young people having a good time. The music was good. The atmosphere was good. There was dancing. It was the epitome of what should have been "fun."

I couldn't get out of my head though. I was standing there, watching my friends and everyone around me have a blast, but I felt like I was watching from above. All I could think was, "Why is everyone so happy? I want to be happy too." I felt like everything was closing in around me. I was surrounded by people, but I still felt out of place and distant. I fought back tears a few times, and panic eventually set in. I knew I was going to lose it if I stayed there. I eventually went and stood in a corner and pretended to play on my phone until everyone was ready to leave. The same thing happened the next night, and when we returned back to the hotel, I sat out on the balcony by myself for the remainder of the evening instead of hanging out with my friends because I just couldn't handle things anymore. Unfortunately, this is how the majority of social situations turn out for me. Most times, it's just easier to be alone with your sadness.

If there is one thing that you remember about depression, let it be this...it is not some made-up concept. It's very, very real. To those of you who have loved ones that deal with depression...be patient with them. Try to understand that the majority of the time, the way that they feel cannot be controlled. And to those of you who may deal with it yourselves...keep fighting to keep your head above the water. Yes, it's completely exhausting. Especially when you realize that you will be battling it for the rest of your life. However, it's always best to say that you tried.

Vicky Hunt said...

I type this with tears in my eyes Randa. I cry for two reasons...the first being that my heart breaks, I mean I can literally feel pain in my heart because I can't "fix" you. I want so badly to be able to go back to a time when I could make everything better...but unfortunately, I can't. I pray for you my baby girl and I know that God is going to help you overcome this cloud of depression hanging over you. My tears are also tears of joy because I am in awe of how you can take such a sad topic and turn it into a beautiful thing to read. Your way with words never ceases to amaze me. You have such talent and I don't just say that because I'm your mom. I say that because it's the absolute truth. God's going to open doors for you and your writing one day...I have all faith that He will. Know that I love you with ALL my heart. Keep fighting this battle...as hard as it may be. You will win eventually. Love and prayers, Mama

Pleas(e) and Carrots said...

Oh girl I wish I didn't but I know how you feel, and it really is so hard for other people to understand. They always say things like "get a new perspective" or "try to think positive" but that doesn't work a majority of the time. I'm always here if you need to talk, I love you!

A Life Less Traveled said...

That quote really does a good job of describing depression. I have suffered from it in the past and know how hard it can be to deal with.

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