Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Depression is Depressing. II

There's a lot of stigma that comes with clinical depression. My own father has said I'm just crazy, though admittedly he hasn't said it to my face in years. I mentioned having seen a school psychologist once and everyone suddenly got worried, leaning away as though I might suddenly attack them with my hat or the nearest utensil. No, actually, I had a bad case of senioritis, but details.

It's some of those everyday reactions that (pardon the pun) drive me crazy. At first, my being unhappy, for whatever reason, garnered a sharp, "Build a bridge and get over it." Pause for explanation: One of the differences between feeling depressed and clinical depression is the inability to get over it, and that there doesn't need to be a reason for it. All the happy thoughts in the world can't get rid of the hopelessness.

This is where I fight my own stigma. I live it, and I've lived it for over a decade, yet I still feel like it's some kind of personality defect. Everyone has hard times, but most don't collapse, unable to do anything but try to keep alive. Yes, we've all been there, and that's why it's so tricky, that's why it's so hard to understand. We've all wondered if the world would be better off without us, and we've all had that flickering thought that maybe if we lost control of the car for just a moment...

Would that flimsy-looking metal barrier stop the car? Would the car flip? Sink? Could I get the door open? Would anyone report it, or would I die? Would I want to be saved? Are my underwear clean in case the EMT has to cut my clothes off?

We all think that stuff. Right?

I tend to think it more than most. I hate the two bridges I cross four times a day going to and from my daughter's school. I wonder if there's any bank on the other side, or if I'd go straight into the water. I'm afraid that if I did lose control of the car, people would think I'd committed suicide and that would trump any good memories they might have of me; the ultimate failure.

The people who have dealt the most with me over the past years, who have seen the uncontrollable mood swings, still have problems completely understanding, and I mentioned this earlier before I started a side-rant. At first it was, "Build a bridge and get over it," which by the way makes it worse because God, I wish I could do that, you have no idea how much I wish I could do that.

Then people began to accept, but not being in my head, couldn't tell if I was legitimately, normally depressed, or uncontrollably, clinically depressed. The response became, "Did you take your medicine?" Yes, I did, actually. I do not like curling up in a corner somewhere crying while trying to convince myself that suicide will send me to hell, and an eternity of hell can't be much better, so I am highly motivated to take my medicine each night before bed. Plus, if someone randomly saved me from an attempt, I could end up crippled and unable to even try again.

Ridiculous? Possibly. Morbid? Probably, but if it works, it works.

I've gotten a new reaction now, and I think I'd have preferred the old, "Did you take your medicine?" The problem, apparently, is a misunderstanding. I'm having a hard time right now, what with being technically homeless and other things I don't feel like listing off. I think that gives me a right to claim legitimate, non-chemical depression. I got beat up by a cat yesterday (story for another time) and was mopey because a) I hurt, b) I'm sick, and c) it's gloomy outside, and well-meaning family started listing off basic blessings for me, as though they feared for my life. Yes, my daughter is healthy, aside from her illness, yes, I have a roof over my head and wheels under my butt, but I hurt, I'm sick, and I'm sweating a bit because I refuse to take off my sweatshirt so everyone can see that I wallked out of the house today with my shirt on inside-out.

Thank you all for reminding me that I have a place to sleep at night. (Though I'm sharing the bed and am so sick of Christmas decorations I could scream. Just sayin'.)

I am going to post this, and I'll come back later to fix the typos. It's difficult to compose a legible blog on one's phone, qwerty keypad or no. OMG it's so hard! *sniffle* I hate my life! I'm going to go cut because the only way to deal with my pain is to fall into broad stereotypes!


Edit: edited

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