Of Depression

There’s plenty of articles out there who speak to the depressed. But if the one suffering will not let those words in – they’ll be but empty words in the wind. So instead I’d like to talk about those I saw around the depressed people, me being among the depressed kind (have no worries, I’m coping well for now).
Depression is a guest that never leaves too far. On rarer occasions it leaves and dies off somewhere in the ditch, but let’s face it, most of them and most of us relapse fairly easily. It’s not as much of the “dangerous triggers” that some overprotective people wag their fingers at all across the internet, as much as our own minds. You probably know the saying that happyness is chemistry working well, meaning pretty much exactly that, depression is a chemistry gone wrong. And unlike flu, this can be fought with some will, I believe, but those who think that anyone can win with mere power of will – never had depression, not the real deep kind that keeps you awake through the night and doesn’t let you leave the bed in the morning. If you think that you can just pretend through it, live through it, cope with it and not be bothered – you don’t know the first things about what depression is and you, my friend, is the first person I’d like to dedicate my blog post too then.
You know the saying “you’ll know a true friend in a time of need”, right? Well here’s how it goes. I consider myself a survivor in this case, so instead let me talk of examples I saw all around me, examples that led me to the great need to cope with my depression, for for the first time in my life I realized that I am not the weakest link in the chain and that some, no matter how strong and amazing people, sometimes are in a lot worse mental state than I am. What I saw were their friends when these people were in need.
People, the ones close to me even today, although because of their actions I do often question if I truly want them around, left many such a person burning on the inside. They turned their backs and walked away, claiming they can’t be dealing with this shit, claiming those people are childish and so on. Now, I would understand this were they not the same people who keep re-posting pictures of what depression is all over their media, if they weren’t people who themselves had depression once in their life, or people who per se believe that we should be out there for each other. You want to be a good person? It’s an easy thing to be clean when you live among immaculate nuns, my friend. And if you’re only as good as others around you – you’re not good at all. You want the world to be a better place, but then you turn away if someone’s feeling bitter. You want the world to be warm and therefor turn away from the winter! Just because you ignore the smudge on your table – it doesn’t mean you live in a clean environment. Therefor I sit here and wonder of all the things we have in common, you and I. I know what I have in common with the depressed lot. I know what they feel and how overpowering that feeling is. But you? No, you’re a stranger to all of us.
People are not supposed to live your life for you, to pat you on the back, to encourage you and so on, as Superwoman said today (go follow her, she’s great), and that is true alright. It’s not a given thing, this pat on the back, this little smile of encouragement. But here I can pull out the science card and remind you that studies show people learn better when they’re reward-encouraged, not punishes. So what you’re doing, when you feel too important to pat someone on the back and tell them they’ve done great, is something not even an animal, but a bloody plant would do. A plant just reaches out for the sky, ignoring other plants and trying to not get into anyone’s shadow. And here I thought we’re human beings, those, unlike trees, who do not get broken when the wind is too hard, and those who can move, for no roots hold them in cold soil. You may feel like you don’t owe anyone a smile and be right about it. But then do us all a favor and also remember it when someone doesn’t feel like going out with you, like talking to you and so on. Depression makes smiles very hard. And as you owe us non – we owe you just as much, non.
If a person has a flu, you don’t ask them: well, can you just try NOT to have fever? I mean, it’s getting in the way. You don’t ask that, right? So why you presume that someone with depression can just behave because you wish it so? I have friends here who drag those depressed into games and such, people who feel suicidal at all times, who try to find one goddamn reason to get up in the morning. And then they get angry, they quit games, they lash out at them. With this behavior you ASK the depressed person to STOP being depressed, you know? You ask the person with the cold to stop having a cold! You’re not here to entertain us, as we established it, so don’t get mad at someone who sees no reason to live on, just because your entertainment didn’t make them smile. You don’t owe us a smile. Neither we owe one for you.
As of today I have one person I would trust completely were I to laps back into depression. She doesn’t know how to treat me alright, and just repeats the same things that were chewed through all the social media a hundred times and more, BUT. But she’s there. And she understands that when I’m angry, I am not angry with her, I am angry with the previously mentioned injustice of what I feel inside. She knows that if I stayed in bed to two pm and passed the watching of the series with her that night – I’m merely unable to cope as of yet, and it’s not a sign or something one ought to interpret. This one woman out there seems to grasp it alright, that she doesn’t owe me entertainment when I can’t keep my heart steady and my mind in tact. And just as well she seems to understand, that merely because I went along with her attempts – I don’t owe her the “yeah, I’m feeling better now, thank you” thing. And that considering, out there, among those I find to be unable to understand what depression really is, are people who once helped me. People for whom I put down my tools of trade that come to hand to the suicidal sort of depressed people. And it’s those people I look at now and wonder… You don’t owe me anything, but how come you feel like I owe you good behavior, when you turned your back onto all those in need? If I relapse – you will leave me. Don’t lie to yourself, you will, even if you told me many times that you need a friend like me around. And why? Because you want to be a good person, but you aren’t. You’re only as good, as good others are to you. You’re a reflection, my friend.
So. Depression doesn’t leave forever for most of us. But we can still live on. If not for ourselves, then for those who need help more than we need help. Because we’re in the position to understand what this shit feels like the best. No one else out there will pat the crying one on the back. No one else will give a free smile to the lashing out little creature, burning on the inside. No one else seems willing to give something of endless resource, because they’re afraid they might not get it back, somehow. So we have to do it. You and I, my depressed friend. And, of course, don’t let this get in your way with your life. It doesn’t have to be your bases, it isn’t mine either. I’m a translator, a blogger, a type of an artist even, not a voice for the depressed community. And you don’t have to be either. But what I learned I’ll share with you, and you share it with who you can in return, and I know you will, for you understand how this feels: be the hand that pats, when there’s a shoulder in want of patting. And be the shoulder if it comes to it too. It’s not a duty, it’s your human right to be a human, not a plant. Stay strong, for you can. You absolutely can.

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