It’s more than not wanting to get up in the morning, it’s feeling like it’s actually impossible.
It’s wanting to sleep until it’s impossible to sleep anymore.
It’s being exhausted no matter how much you sleep.
It’s tolerating people at best, and completely avoiding them, on purpose, at worst.
It’s feeling like nothing, nothing, you do is, has been, or ever will be good enough.
It’s profound sadness.
It’s physical aches and pains. Your very body taking all of the mental fatigue and expressing itself through stiff and sore joints.
It’s not wanting to do any of the things you like to do.
It’s a feeling of defeat. Despair. Indifference.
Depression is a bitch. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I know a LOT of people who deal with it.
I’m not talking about people who occasionally get the blues.
I’m talking about people who deal with chronic depression.
There is a difference.
Sadly, even after years of research and empirical studies, depression still has a stigma that those who have it must be weak, or dramatic, or just wound too tight.
I might believe that too, if I didn’t know so many people that have it.
I’m the type of person that likes things to make sense.
You’re tired because you’ve been busy.
You’re sad because something made you sad.
You’re in a brain fog because you’re tired.
You’re avoiding people because you have a cold.
You don’t want to participate in things you love because you have another obligation.
But depression doesn’t make sense.
It can often come out of nowhere, but for me, it gathers on me like a storm when I’ve been dealing with a previous block of time where I was incredibly busy or stressed out.
That would explain the tiredness and fatigue. Even the not wanting to do anything. But not the sadness.
It’s very hard to explain chronic depression to someone who has never experienced it.
Even harder to justify to those who think it’s just a matter of internal fortitude and whether or not you have it.
In their eyes, you don’t have it.
After several months of avoiding it, I’m resuming a treatment of antidepressants.
I hate taking them.
I hate knowing that depression is something I cannot control on my own. Because I am a control addict and I don’t want to admit I’m human sometimes.
My priest preached a sermon yesterday on love. And I walked away with a different message than what she actually talked about, but it’s been ringing in my ears just the same.
In the picture above is a necklace.
My mother gave it to me when I was a little girl. Maybe, 7 or 8 years old.
It was the first piece of real gold jewelry I had ever owned. And I LOVED it.
I wore it all the time.
One day, my sister and I had a fight. I told her, “I hate you!”
My mom heard me and told me to take off the necklace and give it to her.
She explained that people who hate others should not be wearing symbols of love like a cross.
In short, she called me a fraud.
I got the necklace back eventually. I’m sure it required an apology to my sister and my mother. And I think I asked God to forgive me about 1,000 times.
Because I didn’t really hate my sister. She had just made me really angry.
But that lesson has stuck with me my entire life.
Not about wearing jewelry that you shouldn’t, but about pretending to be something you’re not.
If you read this blog at all on a regular basis, you’ll know how much I value authenticity. I cannot stand phony, fake people.
And you’ll also understand that I try to live my life in a transparent way. Because I think that’s truly how we share the message of love with others.
Depression means a lot of things, but I know when I’m really in the midst of it, I hate. I hate myself, I hate other people, I hate the world.
Try as I may, there’s not a prayer, a scripture, an inspirational message that makes it go away.
It’s a mental illness, yes. But our brains are as much a physical part of us as any other organ in our body. More so than we even realize most of the time. It controls everything.
I need mine to function properly. And it does when I take medication.
I’ve been wearing that necklace again lately. For a lot of different reasons.
First, there is SO MUCH HATE in this world right now. It’s exhausting. And disheartening. Especially when it comes from people that should know better.
So I put that necklace on a week or two ago. And I haven’t taken it off.
It’s a reminder that I have to have love if I’m going to be who I say and know that I am.
Secondly, I wear it to remember to love myself. If God loves me, as I am so profoundly sure that He does, I am not in a position to hate anything or anyone that he created.
And that saying about having to love yourself before you can truly love others? I believe that.
I know people that struggle a lot with love and intimacy because they don’t love themselves.
I’m not going to spell out for you what loving yourself does and does not mean. I think you probably get it.
If you don’t, you’re probably part of what is wrong with society. And even part of the blight on Christianity as a whole.
I just wanted to write this because the worst feeling in the world is to believe that you are alone. Forgotten. Misunderstood.
So if that’s you, know that you’re not any of those things.
I’ve been there.
Take your meds.
Love yourself enough to do what you have to do be the best version of yourself.
Even if it means taking a pill.
Or going to therapy.
God’s love is especially sweet to the broken. Reach out for it while you do those things that you know, because of the common sense he gave you, you must do.
Hate will kill you. If it’s yourself you hate, it will destroy you from the inside out.
Love will save you.