Depression is not sadness
My whole life, I thought depression was sadness. I thought people who were depressed were sad, and that eventually they’d “snap out of it”. I feel ashamed to have thought this, ignorant even. Depression is not sadness, and I’ll tell you exactly what it is.
You feel empty. Like nothing matters. When my depression was at its worst, I remember not caring about anything. My friends would tell me good news and I’d pretend to be happy for them. You could have told me my mom had a heart attack and I wouldn’t have felt anything. That’s the part I hated most. When you want to feel, but you can’t. I was embarrassed; I wanted to care about the people who I loved and who loved me. But I couldn’t.
I thought I didn’t deserve to live
You have the darkest thoughts. Weeks in a row, I’d think about death. I became obsessed. I felt like heaven was where I belonged because I didn’t deserve the gift of life. Depression would whisper in my ear that I should do everyone a favor and just end my life. I remember a specific night when I held a bottle of pills (my antidepressants) in my hands. All I kept thinking to myself is that if I take those 21 pills, I won’t be suffering anymore. No more pain, crying, anxiety.. it’s all over. I ended up putting the bottle down, and since that day I’m still here, fighting.
Sometimes you turn to unhealthy ways to cope with depression. In my case, I turned to cutting. It also became an obsession. I remember being with friends or family, at work even, and thinking about how I just wanted to cut my skin. It gave me a high, made me forget about reality. It made me feel in control. Cutting became a normal thing for me to do. When I found myself struggling to stop thinking about it and doing it, it became scary. As time went by, I didn’t want cutting to be my way to cope. Months later, I can say that I am clean.
You isolate yourself
I spent countless hours in my room and days when I wouldn’t leave my house. I missed family events, parties, gatherings with friends, and activities, because of my depression. I always wanted to be alone because I felt like depression was my fight to fight. But today when depression tells me I shouldn’t go somewhere or that I should stay alone in my room, I fight the thoughts. Most of the time I don’t regret it. But sometimes I do have trouble enjoying myself when I’m out.
As you can see, depression is not sadness. Sadness is an emotion that comes and goes. Depression, well, that’s permanent. It follows you everywhere and it doesn’t discriminate. It keeps you from living the life you want to live and experience. When people lose their battle, they don’t lose it against sadness; they lose it against depression. Sadness doesn’t require professional help or medication, but depression does. It’s important to educate yourself not only on depression, but on mental illness as a whole. I am 1 in 4, and you could be too. Be brave everyone.