Why My Depression Is Best Described as Apathy
I have depression. I’m not depressed, I have depression. I’m not sad, I have depression. A lot of people believe these ideas are identical. Depression does not always take the form of sadness, although that is a common symptom. My depression can be described best as apathy. I just don’t care.
To be sad can be a good thing. If there is something that moves you to tears, it’s a sign of humanity. So what does it mean to never cry? Am I inhuman? I have been plagued by this very question since I was able to question life. There are very few things that have ever made me cry. I cried when my best friend died. And then my father. I cried when the love of my life left me. That’s about it. I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing a lot of loss in the way of dead relatives — more than 10, I’m sure. When my grandfather died, it was a dark scene. Grown men weeping over the still body that lay in the casket beside them. Grandchildren, beginning to regret not spending more time with him. Guilt, sadness, fear and so many more emotions were surrounding me.
And I felt nothing.
Of course, I was not happy that the patriarch of this strong family was gone. I understand that every life has to end. He lived to be 80, that’s pretty good. I spent a good amount of time with him. I heard his stories of childhood from the mother country. I celebrated Christmas and birthdays with him. I loved him. I mourned him, but I was not sad.
Living with apathy is painfully difficult. In fact, the strongest feeling I get (aside from the hopelessness of depression) is guilt. I feel guilty that I don’t care more. I felt ashamed at my grandfather’s funeral. I felt like everyone was staring at me like I was some witch. And I agreed with them. What kind of person doesn’t cry at a funeral? Am I some heartless monster? Why don’t I care?
Now, this is not always. As with most cases of mental illness, it is not 100 percent of the time. I love. I have friends and family that I’m close to. I wish happiness and good fortune for them. I’m there to celebrate with them when they get it. I’m there to help them when they fall. But I always feel distanced. I feel like there’s a wall between us and I’m trying so hard to break it down. So far, I’ve made good progress. But behind all the brick that I’ve removed, there’s still a glass pane. I’m so close to them but I can’t really be there. I feel like they can tell, that I’m not all there. I hope they see that I want to be, but I’m not sure.
Apathy doesn’t just effect my relationships. It effects my future. I have no passion, no drive. I’m a bike on the freeway. The gears are greased, the brakes work fine. I’m not going backward but I’m not moving much. I see others with their passions in life. Some are passionate about politics, some art. Some people love their job, some are so involved in their children’s school. I have nothing. I’m actually a very good singer. And could probably make something of myself in acting. I’m a good writer and storyteller. I could have a career. But I have no drive to pursue those passions. I make money, I feed myself. I stay alive. That’s really all I care about.
I often wonder what it’s like to care. I see people so invested in their beliefs, some willing to kill or die for them. I would not do that. I wonder what it’s like. Maybe one day I’ll find out.
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