Open Topic

The Difference Between Depression & Sadness.

“I always get really worried when I get too happy because what follows is I get really sad after that,” I was 12 when I said this to my older sister.

“Well just choose to stay happy,” she replied. She was 15.

I didn’t realize then what I was describing was depression that would go undiagnosed for the next ten years.

I sat in an office on campus.

“This is what we’re dealing with,” I said to my counselor. “I don’t need some lesson in what depression is, I just need to know how to live with it.”

We spent the next year working together.

The thing about depression is, it’s not like something that consumes your life every day. It comes and goes. I can describe it only as a dark cloud that lingers. On your best day, it’s the tap on your shoulder reminding you it’s close by. On your worst day, it takes your hand and pulls you even deeper into this darkness I can’t explain to people. On those days, you don’t look like yourself. You don’t sound like yourself. The version of you on a depressing day is the version that scares you as well as everyone who cares about you.

“What does it feel like,” my mom asked me as I told her it was getting bad again.

“I feel nothing. I feel numb. I wake up and I want to go back to sleep. I wake up and there’s nothing in my day I’m looking forward to. I contemplate calling out of work because I just don’t care. I’m not hungry, even when I can’t remember the last time I ate. My weight drops. I don’t want to get ready. I don’t want to shower. I just want to lay there.”

Tears well up behind my eyes because I’m overcome with two feelings when I try to explain it to her. First is sadness because even finding the words to try to describe what a bad day might look like, doesn’t do justice to how I feel and the horrible places I take myself. Then I’m overcome with guilt because I know she worries.

Everyone has bad days. But depression is a series of really bad days where you just want to completely break down and cry because you didn’t ask for this. And when depression wraps its arms around you, the only way to get out of it is to feel through these really deep and dark and ugly emotions you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.

But that’s the thing that makes people with depression kind of special. Since they know what it’s like to be their own worst enemy, since they know what it’s like to fight back, since they’ve seen and felt all these heavy things, their response to it is to not project those emotions out into the world. But rather the opposite.

People who suffer from depression are the kindest ones you’ll ever meet. They look at the world not through negative lenses and how bad it is, they already know that. But they look at the world and every individual in it with compassion and understanding that few know.

Depression isn’t that stereotype we grew up thinking about. It isn’t the loner. It isn’t the person who is mean or the bully. It isn’t the person wearing all black.

The most depressed person in the room a lot of time are the ones who appear the happiest and the kindest. It’s the person who watches you closely and notices when you aren’t acting the way you usually are. It’s the person who pulls you aside and asks if you want to talk about it. Knowing depression makes you want to be the light in other people’s lives, even when you can’t figure out how to see the light in your own life.

Depression is that effort you have to make to be positive and being jealous of those people it comes naturally to.

Depression is the one telling jokes and making everyone laugh because you know what real unhappiness is, so you choose something different.

Depression is the hardest working person in the entire room because that job, whatever it is, gives them purpose. That job gives them a reason to keep going.

Depression is the best, hardest working, caring teammate, you’ll ever have because that sport is their outlet and when they are in the game and focusing on winning, that’s the closest they will ever come to knowing what it’s like to live without depression.

Depression is a strength you don’t see, and battles you don’t know someone is fighting. What you don’t see, is the pep talk they gave themselves to get up that day. What you do don’t see, is how there are some nights they are crying themselves to sleep and they don’t even know why.

Depression is hanging on to those blissful moments with the people you care most about and you look around taking it all in, appreciating everything. Because it’s those people and moments you’ll think of on a bad day.

Depression is feeling lonely, as you stare at your phone because in that filtered life everyone is projecting it seems like they have it figured out and they aren’t struggling. You want to be as happy as everyone seems to be, even though you know they might be pretending to.

But more than anything, depression is fighting back against every force that is trying really hard to take you down. You don’t let it.

You replace negativity with being the most positive person that people know.

You replace the lies you tell yourself with being honest with everyone.

You replace that mean voice inside your head with being the nicest person that people know, even if you haven’t figured out how to channel that into yourself.

You replace the bad relationship you have with yourself with really knowing what it takes to have a good one with others.

You replace judgment with compassion.

You replace feeling sorry for yourself and crying with the gratitude and appreciation for others.

You replace moments of hate within yourself with the love you feel deeply for everyone else.

Depression strives in turning everyone and everything black in its path but those who fight through depression, replaces that darkness with a light that touches everyone they come in contact with.


Open Topic

When They Ask If I Miss You.

When they ask me if I miss you, my first response is no.

I’ve moved on. I’ve learned to live my life without you. It doesn’t pain me waking up anymore. My head doesn’t jolt in whatever direction of someone saying your name.

I don’t miss you.

I did.

I learned what missing someone was like and how it could hurt to a point where you become a version of yourself you don’t even recognize. I learned what it truly felt like to watch someone fall out of love with you. It’s this helpless feeling and you completely lack the understanding of how it happened or what you did to deserve that. I learned what rock bottom actually felt like. I learned very quickly how none of us are immune to depression if love is in the picture. And how it’s almost normal to feel those things so heavily when a relationship ends.

I learned what it was like to lose yourself to someone else.

I learned what it was like to try a little too hard.

I learned about compromising my self-respect trying to get someone to stay.

Like my role was to convince another person that I was worth it.

It was in those moments of such despair that I learned about who I wanted to be rather than who I was.

So when people ask do I miss you, I say no.

Because I don’t miss the person either of us became at the end of it.

The part of you I miss, was the version of who you were when you loved me.

The part of you I miss, is the life we had together.

The part of you I miss, was waking up every day like you were the best thing to have happened to me.

There are parts of you and me I miss. And as much as I would love to say I wish things didn’t play out like they did, that’d be dishonest too. Because it was in losing you I found myself again. And it wasn’t even finding myself, but rather having to learn what it was like to be my own person without feeling like an extension of someone else.

Do I miss you? There are some days, but something I’ve come to learn is mourning a past relationship or mourning who two people used to be will never change them from who they are now to who you wish they were.

If a relationship outgrows you or you outgrow it, you’ll find how fast you ruin yourself trying to fit the mold of who you each used to be.

It’s not easy to just move on. Feelings of pain and heartbreak are completely justifiable, but you should know outgrowing a relationship or getting hurt watching someone outgrow you, isn’t the end.

It’s the start of finding someone even better.

Sometimes the people we love and care about, the ones we might have thought could have been the one was really a stop along the way to someone better.

It’s impossible to see that in the beginning. But the love you deserve isn’t one that will hurt you, then return, realizing the mistake. The love you deserve won’t have to make that mistake in the first place.