I remember one day in particular that I carefully wrapped tape around each and every finger covering up my fingerprints. As I went throughout the day like normal everything I touched was numb to the most sensitive part of my fingers and I loved the lack of feeling. There was no sane reason for taping up my fingers besides the giddiness I felt from creating physical numbness. At the time it was just a random thing a sleep deprived college student was doing at six o’clock in the morning that I didn’t think much about. Now, I realizes that it was much more concerning than just that.
I have known for years that I have struggled with depression, but still to this day as I type it out, it is hard to believe. I never wanted this. I have grown up seeing people struggle and have been affected by it and told myself that I would never be like them. My younger self did not know the truth about it and caused herself more pain than she should have.
I know I am not alone in depression because 14.8 million American adults struggle with depression as well. Every single person’s depression is different but they all have common elements. I recently read an amazing BuzzFeed article that people shared what they want other people to know about their depression. It was an inspiration to me because there is so much that people don’t understand about my specific depression. So, I wanted to echo some of other people’s depression statements that hit the nail on the head for you to know about me and my depression.
“Just because I’m a genuinely positive person doesn’t mean I don’t have depression. It is so much more than being sad and negative. For me it’s more about having no motivation for anything, which is frustrating because I am a very ambitious person.”
This statement is so me! I am a genuinely positive person and that is why I started this blog, to help me look at life in a positive way and continue to learn from my own life experiences. This being the case, many people are surprised when I tell them I have depression because they expect me to be sad all the time. There are two clarifications about that:
1st: I put on a show for people. If I am in a dark place I avoid hanging out with friends and family. Then, when I do spend time with people I do everything in my power to act normal because I don’t want to advertise my struggles to the world.
2nd: Depression is not being sad all the time. Majority of the time I’m not sad. I am simply numb. I have no motivation to do anything and it is so frustrating. It is like those dreams where I am running in slow motion and can’t speed up even though someone is chasing me! I am watching myself thinking, “What the heck is wrong with you?! You are letting everything you have worked for slip away, but nothing changes”. I am so numb to what is going on around me that I don’t care. I feel nothing constantly.
Things that use to excite me have no effect on me. A great example of this is writing. I haven’t posted a new blog post in awhile because I have had no desire to write which is something I use to love to do. Instead I sleep any spare moment I can because I always feel overwhelmingly tired and if I don’t feel tired I lie in bed wishing I was asleep.
“I wish people wouldn’t feel the need to instantly ‘fix’ me. Sometimes it’s nice to be cheered up, but there will be times when I need to just sit and think about things or simply don’t want to be cheered up.”
Oh my goodness, YES! That is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to depression, trying to “fix” me. I appreciate that you care enough about me to want to help and that means so much but please don’t try and fix me. Unless you are a licensed therapist please don’t tell me how to handle my depression. I know you mean well but it doesn’t help and is really awkward. On the other hand, if you struggle with depression too, I do appreciate you sharing your struggles and what has worked for you. But again, every depression is different and how I handle this may be different than how you do so please don’t be offended if I don’t always take your advice. How I handle my depression it is between the Lord, my therapist, and me so it will be specific to my needs.
What I do need is your friendship and love. Just keep doing what have been doing before you found out about my depression. Your texts, hanging out, and friendship mean the world to me and help cheer me up and make a positive difference so thank you.
“That it’s not temporary. For me depression has been and will be a lifelong mental illness. Even though I take my medication and go to counseling, it doesn’t mean that my depression will ever go away.”
This one is hard to accept but very true and something I want to address. Another thing that is hard is when I tell people about my depression or things about it and they say, “Oh, I didn’t realize that things where bad in your life,” or, “I didn’t know you and your husband were having marriage issues, you both seem so happy.” … Ugh…. Just because I have depression does not mean my life is bad. Actually, my life is very good right now! I just got a new job and my husband and I have never been better in our relationship.
I get that a lot of people have depressing times in their life when trials come and that when I say I am depressed those times are what is associated with my depression. The truth is that my depression is not just a phase I am going through, it is something that is always going to be there regardless of what is going on in my life. I will learn to better manage it but it will never be too far away.
“I wish they understood how it doesn’t always look like it does in the movies, I’m not tragically and beautifully sad. I’m not always looking for a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to, most of the time I just want to be alone.
“I wish they knew how much it kills me when I want to cancel plans because I just can’t do anything. I wish they knew that at times like that all I want is to sit and not talk. Taking me out somewhere could just make me feel worse because they’ll have put time and thought into something I just can’t force myself to do.
“I wish they knew how much that depression doesn’t define who I am as a person, and how much I wish that they looked at me without that pity in their eyes when I say I’m tired.”
Being numb all the time makes me want to be alone. There are times when I don’t want to do anything and that is okay. Most of the time I love talking and spending time with people because it does help cheer me up. But there are times when I don’t have the energy and desire to handle pretending to be okay. Please don’t push me in those moments, I know it seems like talking will help but it doesn’t. And please don’t be offended because it has nothing to do with you as a person and everything to do with me and my depression.
Also, and most importantly, I am going to be okay. Depression sucks! But I am learning to deal with it and I have been for years. I remember in junior high feeling very depressed and in high school I struggled with cutting myself. This is nothing new in my life. My awareness of my depression has gotten better and in turn so has my understanding. I am working to improve and even though it will never fully go away I am gradually getting a better handle on it with help from a therapist. Please don’t feel like I should be pitied or that this changes who I am because it doesn’t. I am still me.
Wrapping in my fingers in tape made going through the daily tasks physically numb to me and I liked it because it reflected how I felt inside as I did not know how to express it. I didn’t realize then how bad my depression had gotten but I needed a way to show what I was going through. Every day I feel numb to the day to day events like losing the ability to feel when touching things. But I needed you to know that your friendship makes a difference in my life so I wanted you to understand my depression and how you can help. You cannot fix my depression but you help me smile when I have no desire to.