A Description of Depression for People Who Think I Can Just 'Get Over It'
I think people have problems relating to depression because they don’t understand it. They don’t realize clinical depression is an order of magnitude worse than the blues everyone has felt at one time or another. They don’t understand how it feels, so it’s easy for them to say things like:
Just get over it.
Change your attitude.
Saying those types of things doesn’t help because it gives people with depression the impression they are abnormal. We can’t just get over it, so there must be something wrong with us. People who deal with depression in others need to try to understand what we’re feeling. So here’s a description of a few of the feelings I’ve had in my ongoing battle with my own mind.
Hopelessness. Nothing is OK, and nothing will ever be OK. Things will never work out, and they certainly won’t get better. This feeling infiltrates the very soul, until my entire being is hopelessness. It’s thick and crushing, until even tears don’t help. What’s the point of going on, if nothing will ever be OK?
Guilt. It’s my fault. These bad things that happen, the horrible things in the world, are my fault. I can find a way to blame anything on myself, from the dog going on the carpet to a car accident I pass on the road. It’s my fault, and such bad things wouldn’t happen if I weren’t around.
Hatred. In the throes of depression, it’s easy to hate yourself. I’m not 100 percent certain what I look like, because I can’t stand to look in the mirror. I can’t fathom why other people like me because I’m incapable of liking myself. And sometimes the hatred for ourselves is so great it spills out in the direction of others. It can be hard to love others when you don’t love yourself.
Worthlessness. I am a waste of space. I’m not worth the air I breath. I’m not good at anything, I have nothing to contribute to society or others, so maybe I shouldn’t be here. It would probably be better for everyone if I were gone.
These feelings crop up at every failure, no matter how trivial. Tripping over a curb can send me into a spiral of negative emotion I can’t escape for days, so imagine how bad it must be when someone says something like, “Just get over it.”
I’m well on my road to recovery now, but these types of feelings aren’t far behind me. I still have my bad days when getting out of bed just doesn’t seem worth it, but I can fight a little better now. So when your friend or family member with depression is having a hard time, try to understand “changing their attitude” isn’t an option. They need love, support and understanding. Dealing with these emotions is difficult, and it takes tears and a lot of hard work. Winning in the end is possible, but it’s a constant battle and not something to “just get over.”