Depression in My Own Words

I’ve never been diagnosed with depression or anything similar. Until now, I’ve only ever talked to one or two people about it. Not even my family is aware of it. My hope is that this post will help me in the long run, no matter how hard it is for me to write it now.

I don’t hate the world. I think the world is a vast, beautiful, and wondrous place I would love to see more of. I don’t hate my life, either. In fact, I have nearly everything I’ve ever wanted: life in the city, education from a top private university, job I can enjoy, some really amazing friends, and someone who loves me as much as I love him.

What I hate is myself, and I feel like everyone else should, too. There is reason for this, stemming from my childhood and much of grade school. Perhaps personality type, genetics, or some sort of chemical imbalance in my brain add to it. I don’t know exactly when and where this depression came from, but I am determined to be rid of it.

Depression is a shadow. It darkens my heart and everything residing there. Joyful activities lose their allure, and I question if those I care about reciprocate that care. I see myself as useless; a waste of time, space, and breath. I constantly fear failure, ridicule, and rejection and see each of them in every interaction I have.

Depression is self-perpetuating. It starts with a trigger that affects my emotions. I start to feel badly, and then think badly. I think ill of myself and it reflects in my actions and interactions with others. Things don’t go well, and it makes me feel worse. Emotions, thoughts, and actions forming an endless cycle.

Depression feasts on the lonely. It’s hard for me to create my own sunshine when I feel so undeserving of it. It’s not that I can’t, but that I don’t think I’m worth the effort. Without someone waiting to greet me with a smile once I emerge from the shadow, I see little reason to bother.

Depression destroys perspective. I forget the reason I have the life I do: because I worked hard for it. Because I gave it to myself. Because I AM worth it, because I CAN do anything I put my mind to. Because I am human, and making mistakes isn’t the end of the world.

 
I work very hard at this, but I am only human. I slip up and spend a few hours drowning in depression. I say and do things based off that depression, and push away those that mean the most to me. I panic at being alone, without someone to talk and listen to. The more I care about a person, the more of an effect they have.

I know your patience is a lot to ask for, and I know you’ve given so much to me already, but don’t give up on me. I haven’t, and I won’t. Whether you help me or not, I WILL get through this. Because I am better than this.

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About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on June 24, 2011, in Real Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. It takes a lot of strength to put feelings like this into words, I know. More strength than I have, at least. For what it’s worth, you’ve always struck me as an awesome and successful person. It would feel hollow to say I hope you feel better, but I hope you can realize your greatness and stand tall sooner than later.

    Your birthday’s tomorrow, isn’t it? Give or take a few timezones as necessary. You’re probably a different case entirely, but I remember getting depressed around my last birthday. I was about to turn 18, and I really felt like I’d achieved nothing with my life. And because I started school a year late, I knew that the people my age were all headed off to university and better things while I lingered behind in high school. I can’t say I’ve quite conquered those feelings in the ten months since, but I’ve definitely got a better handle on them. But, talking about my own problems doesn’t really help anyone.

    Look around, at this blog. I mean, look at how much you’ve written. It’s amazing, that you can do something like that when other people can barely string five letters together without messing up. When I think about stuff like that, it makes me want to try harder. But it’s no good if you can’t see it, eh?

    The clock’s struck midnight here, or as near as my computer is to accuracy. It’s a brand new day, and you’re a year older. Think about everything you’ve done, and where you’re at now. If that doesn’t work, think about where you’re going. We may feel worthless in one moment or the next, but there’s always a few worthless moments in the process of greatness. So stay strong, all right?

    • I don’t think my birthday really has much to do with it. I actually have (minor) plans for the day, which has made me look forward to the day moreso than in the past. I can actually relate to you in the whole starting a year late thing, since my uni is a 5-year school instead of a 4-year. Everyone I went to high school with would be going into their last year in a couple months, whereas I have two years left. Though I’m rather relieved about it. Graduating and being dropped off in the real world sounds utterly terrifying.

      Talking about your own problems helps you, and also opens a common ground for discussion. You’re not some person uttering cliche confidence-boosters, you’re someone who has similar issues yourself. I was utterly unprepared for university, which hurt me badly in the long run. Don’t think of it so much as another year you were stuck in high school, but as another year to prepare for the next stage of your life.

      As for my blog, I don’t really consider it much of an accomplishment. That sounds harsh, but s’true. Most of what I’ve written I don’t think is any good or worthy of being posted for the world to see. The biggest accomplishment here is for introverted, perfectionist me to post personal things like this, and other things that are less than perfect.

      Strong I can do. Strong is getting to this point while struggling with such negativity in my heart and mind. Does make me wonder where I could end up in the future, once I overcome this…

      Thank you for the comment

  2. Thaumaturgist

    Kudos to you for writing about what you are going through. Being someone who bottles up everything, I think you are incredibly strong for sharing this.
    A friend of mine suffered from heavy depression, GAD, often had panic attack and (his words) “took it out on himself” frequently. Long story short, he battled it all and is now one of the happiest “content-with-life” person I know. He doesn’t even get those panic attacks anymore.I think my point is that things can always get better.
    They usually do.
    And if you have people there for you through it all, even the worst is not that bad.
    If you think reading helps, I’d recommend reading “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. The latter is especially worth the read if you ever lose purpose in life.
    I wish I had some words to make you feel better. :/
    Stay strong and a very happy birthday!
    Also, you are awesome and your blog reflects it. Don’t let yourself tell you otherwise.
    Feel hugged.

    • I’m not a huge fan of self-help books. I’ve never read one all the way through, but I’ve read a lot of material online and they always tell me things I already know. The impersonal nature bothers me as well. The author has no clue who I am or how I got to this point in my life, how can their words pertain to me, specifically? How can such vague suggestions influence my personal path through life? Though as I said, I’ve never read any such book. They might be wonderful and offer truly fantastic advice, but I don’t think they’re for me.

      I will keep your suggestions in mind, nevertheless. If I ever stumble upon one of them, I’ll take a look. Who knows, maybe they’re actually just what I need.

      Knowing I have friends to talk to who will listen and care about what I have to say makes me feel infinitely better. I don’t need anything else. So thank you for your words, they are greatly appreciated ~

  3. Wow, it takes a lot of courage to write about something like this. I have been thinking of writing something similar about myself for a long long time, but never actually did this, partly because I did not think I deserve to complain about the great life I have and partly because I’m afraid what others would think of me. Would I scare them off, or would they not even care in the first place?

    In my own case I wouldn’t say I am depressed but that I have this pervasive sense of loneliness. But the things you describe all sound very familiar to me so I can relate to how you feel. However, I don;t want to focus on the negative stuff but I want to emphasize your last point about how depression destroys perspective, because obviously you do realize that you are in fact a good person who is worth the life you have worked hard for. It might help if you start listing specific things you have accomplished and feel proud of and keep them close to your heart. Then when you start feeling depressed, repeat those things back to yourself again and again until you believe in yourself again. It may sound a bit stupid to say to yourself how good you are, but it does seem to help in my case, although it doesn’t necessarily address the root cause.

    I’m also glad you say you’re determined to be rid of it, because what I’ve learned is that how we cope with our feelings is really a choice we have. That is really the first step to self-healing. Now I’m not saying that it’s a switch that we can just turn on or off, but we can choose to deal with these feelings differently instead of just lying down and be defeated by them. It’s not an easy process. I’ve been fighting against my feelings every single day for as long as I can remember, and I still feel useless and unloved at times. But deep down inside I know I’m not a bad person, and I do the best I can, and because I know this I will never give in entirely to my loneliness. As long as you are aware that what you are feeling is not true, and as long as you are aware that you want to fight against it, you will never be truly defeated.

    And of course I also want to reiterate what Shard and Thaumaturgist have been saying. The things you’ve written on your blog is amazing, and as far as I can judge, you are a truly amazing person as well. It was you, along with Thaumaturgist, who inspired me to keep writing. And even though you probably don’t know this, it was also you who helped me to feel a little better about myself when I was also in a dark place myself. I was feeling extremely bad about myself at that time and your comments just lifted me up. I don’t think I’ve ever specifically mentioned it or thanked you for it, so let me use this opportunity to thank you after all. Thanks for helping me when I was feeling shit.

    Whew, I said a lot, and I hope what I said makes sense and can help you in your own battles. Anyway, happy birthday (sorry for being a little late!), and whenever you feel the need to express your feelings, don’t hesitate. I for one, and I am sure many others with me as well, will read what you have written and we will all let you know just how much appreciated you truly are.

    • I had the same fears, which I think is why it took me so long to work up the courage to post this. What reason do I have to complain when others can’t even afford to feed themselves? But recognizing the problem is a step toward correcting it. At least this way I got my thoughts in order and got some much-needed encouragement from lovely people like yourself.

      I’ve actually written letters to myself along similar lines. I kept one in my notebook for school and would read it in class sometimes. I’ve not read it in a while, but maybe I should. It did seem to help quite a bit.

      I don’t think I’ll ever be completely rid of this dark cloud. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but rather realistic. I don’t know if it’s actually within my power to completely alter who I am to become perpetually optimistic. Right now I just want to find a balance between that perpetual optimism and where I am now. I feel like I get closer, but then I have relapses, like today…

      I’m glad I was able to help you. It makes me very happy to hear that. Thank you, as well, for the kind words and encouragement.

      • I don’t think it’s pessimistic to admit that you’ll never be completely rid of the dark cloud. I feel exactly the same way and yes, I also have relapses all the time. I think it’s just an integral part of who we are. The question here is how to deal with it, rather than how can I change myself to become a better person?

        In fact, I believe that our insecurity has the potential to drive us to new heights because we feel this constant need to improve ourselves — if harnessed in a positive way of course. And I often say to myself: if I was more confident about myself, I probably would have been an arrogant bastard 😉

  4. Ishana, your bravery in discussing this so genuinely and openly is inspiring. As someone who has known depression from a clinical standpoint (via my dad who has his Ph.D. in psychology and has counseled people since I was a kid) and a bit from a personal standpoint, I understand where you’re coming from. Especially in high school, I didn’t like myself much. It’s easy to measure others more mercifully than ourselves. I never spoke much to my parents (or anyone else, for that matter) about my feelings at the time, but from the dinner table conversations and chats as dad learned new things in school, I gleaned information that helped. Like Wannabe Writer said, one of the best things you can do is speak well of yourself to yourself—and to others too. Do it daily. Do it hourly if need be. But do it often, especially in the midst of negative feelings. If you choose to stop thinking, “I’m worthless” and immediately replace that thought—no matter how forced it feels—with something positive, it starts literally rewiring your brain. The more often you combat the negative with encouragement, the more quickly the new mental pathway will be created and the easier it will be to see yourself as you truly are: wonderful, delightful, intelligent, clever, loved. It is a slow road that requires determination, but you unquestionably have the determination and strength to conquer this. And you have us to back you up and remind you how truly wonderful you are. : )

    • Thank you, Bryna. I think I will write another letter to myself, something I can read and reread whenever I start feeling down again. I do try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, but I find I don’t take myself seriously enough for that to make much of an impact, if any at all. Maybe I just didn’t stick with it long enough, but I think writing and reading such positive thoughts will work out better for me.

      I do wish certain people in my life had the same faith in me you all have.

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