If you don’t laugh about it, you’ll shoot yourself. Depression is real. It’s sneaky. It’s heartless. It’s a liar, a thief, a con artist. If you’ve never experienced it you truly can’t understand how saying to someone who’s in it, it will pass or get over it or count your blessings, lands with a resounding thud. Because when you’re in it, you can’t hear anything at all. Just the awful sounds of the voices in your head telling you to lay down, sleep, give up, don’t try, this will never end you piece of shit.
Yes, it talks like that. It’s the darkest, cruelest voice you can ever imagine and it’s only goal is to make you hate your life.
I struggled with depression from the time I was nine years old well into my late twenties before finally, at thirty-two, I got help.
No amount of self help books, 12 step programs, or therapy was going to truly fix the chemical leakage in my brain. I needed to get medication. My brain was not producing certain things that a healthy brain does. Turmeric and sunshine wouldn’t fix it. Now, all those things I listed helped — helped enormously and still do. Without them I don’t know where I would be. But I do know for sure that without getting properly diagnosed and put on the right anti depressant I would be dead.
And not because my life was horrible. Because my brain told me it was.
I share this as someone who has survived depression. Who has not driven over Mulholland Drive like I fantasized about so often in my high school years. I share this as someone who loves her life.
Because my brain tells me so.
Medication is not a cure all. Like I said, therapy, self help, getting sober, being of service, diet, exercise and sunshine all keep me going. But accepting the fact that I was not able to cure my depression by self will was a huge wake up call. I was terrified to go on anti depressants. I was scared they would “change” me (even though I wanted desperately for the darkness to change). But I was afraid. Would I still be creative, emotional, me? Oh hell yes! I am the purest me now that the cloud of darkness, of hopelessness, of wanting the ground to open and swallow me up has fucked off.
This isn’t to say I don’t get depressed ever. I do. In fact, with the world as it is today, I have found myself depressed more than I have in a long time. But the voices that lie and want to attack me personally are quiet. The depression I feel today is sadness that is manageable and has a beginning, middle and end. And the end is not suicide. The end is hope.
Feelings are real but they aren’t facts. What is a fact? Depression is a debilitating illness that many treat with drugs and alcohol and sex and cutting and food and suicide. If you are suffering or know someone suffering from depression there is help. There are good doctors and good anti depressants and good programs and good people to help. Because THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
You, YOU are not the dark voices in your head. Neither am I.