Am I a Bad Person for How Depression Made Me Act?
Over the past few months, I’ve had a really hard time feeling like I am a good person. I had been convinced by a few individuals (who very clearly do not understand depression) that I am self-absorbed, needy, a bad person/friend and overall just messed up. I used to be able to distinguish a clear sense of who I was versus what the depression was. I saw myself as a kind, caring, sensitive, capable, smart and an overall good person who struggled with depression.
After opening up to a few of the “wrong” individuals, I began to feel as though I was all of the negative things I previously mentioned. For months, I felt guilty and as though I was a terrible human being. This really took a toll on me. I was told I rely on my friends too much and that I should instead call hotlines instead. When I was feeling suicidal and in the middle of a breakdown, I was told the world doesn’t revolve around me and I think I’m the only one with issues. I was told I was being rude and to “figure my shit out,” and I was ignored when I reached out in the future.
What I first had to realize was these reactions to my depressive episodes were not OK. I was at my absolute worst, the most vulnerable I could be, and they chose to answer to me in the most inconsiderate ways. These people clearly had no understanding whatsoever of how depression actually affects a person. I was acting the way I was acting because of my depression not because it was who I am. I knew this before I met these individuals, but because of my experiences with them, my perspective of myself
completely shifted. With my depression, it was way to easy for me to become hyper-fixated on the negative. I no longer viewed myself as a good person who struggled with depression. I now felt as though I was a terrible person and that all of depression’s symptoms were actually proof of my character. This was not fair. To make this completely clear — depression is a disorder, not a personality trait.
Depression is debilitating. It can cause extreme lack of self-worth and motivation, complete unworthiness, irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, isolation, suicidal thoughts and feelings, anger and so much more. This is depression. This is not the person.
I’ve finally gotten to a good place again. Everywhere else in my life, I have always been told how kind and smart and caring I am so it only made sense that I listen to these people instead. Some of these people have also seen me on the brink of a depression breakdown, yet they still think all of these positive things about me. These people actually realize the symptoms of depression do not define an individual, but are exactly what they are called — symptoms of depression. These people are my real friends. These are the people I needed to listen to. And these are the people I finally am listening to.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Brandi Redd