3 Reasons I Don't Always Want Depression Recovery
I’m sure I’m not actually alone in these thoughts, though I’m extremely scared to admit them because I fear no one will understand. I think to some people, it is misunderstood as being “attention-seeking.”
Firstly you need to know, I have been depressed to some degree during the entirety of my teenager years and whole adult life. Some people think the answer is to tell me to “think about the ‘old me’ — the ‘happy me.’” She was a child though. I don’t actually know who I am without depression as an adult. Now that alone is seriously scary. How do I act? What do I like? What do I believe in? Is my whole life now just depression and not me at all? It goes on and on spiraling to bigger questions on who on earth I even am. When you don’t know yourself, how can you grow and achieve? How can you create meaningful relationships and expect others to love you when you don’t know who you really are?
Depression has, in a way, become my identity. I know I am more than that, but it controls every single day. It’s what people know of me (to varying degrees of accuracy and what they just assume depending on who they are). Every day I wake up is either a good day or a bad day but it’s still a depression day. I can so easily slip on my good days if I don’t work at it.
Here are some “shameful” things that are hindering my recovery from depression.
1. I want my depression
Now this is the first very shameful thing for me to admit. I want my depression. It’s my comfort zone, it’s all I know, it’s who I am.
2. I can be honest about how I’m feeling.
This reason I think will be even harder to explain. Going through life as a person with “high-functioning” depression is a roller coaster. Holding down a very stressful full-time job takes every ounce of my energy. But I am very lucky that I have some very supportive people in management roles at my work. I get asked, “Are you OK?” and can be honest and answer “no.” I don’t have to pretend. I can talk about things and get things off my chest. I can cry, I can have space to sit on my own when I need it. I can have time-out from the hectic days work. I can go home early if I need to on a bad day. I know I am very lucky to have this and I hope for a time in the future when all employers have this attitude.
3. I’m ignored when I’m having a “good” day.
The problem comes when I’m having a good day. This last week I’ve been in a good mood and it’s possibly the first full week of this since I started this job in September. The problem is I am still “that depressed person,” it’s not gone away completely in just one week. I’m still the “over-emotional person.” I still worry about little things, I still think I’m doing a rubbish job because I have no confidence and would give anything for some praise just to help me chip away at all the negative things I’ve been called in my past that still drag me down. I’m having a good day, a good week, but I’m at the top of the mountain having climbed slowly up here. Each step was harder than the last, and it’s so easy to fall down, not just a single step, but right down to rock bottom.
When you’re having a good day, people don’t see you as the “depressed” person. People don’t check in on you (when on a bad week, they would). People don’t ask you if you need a chat, or some space to think. People don’t ask you how your recovery is going and seem genuinely interested, whereas when you’re at rock bottom, they moan at you to do these things. People don’t tell you you’re doing a good job because they assume you know. But a depressed mind assumes the negative unless told otherwise. And when I’ve been crying in the morning saying I can’t do it, but then pulled myself together, you tell me how fab I’ve done and say thank you for my help. I don’t get a thank you when I’m having a good day. I’m supposed to just know you appreciate me, but I don’t.
I’m having a good day, but I still feel I don’t matter. I still wonder what my purpose is and whether anyone would miss me if I wasn’t here. I am still depressed, just having a good day. When you have supportive people around you on a bad day, they just leave you to it and don’t even talk to you. It’s like negative reinforcement I guess. It’s a good thing that comes from the doom and gloom of those bad days.
I feel so ashamed to admit this because I think it seems like “attention-seeking” and wanting to be depressed. It is not that at all, it is wanting people around me to support my recovery. But they should be there on the good days too. Or it’s teaching us to stay depressed to have that comfort of others.
I hope I’m not alone in these thoughts, we can beat it together!
Getty Images photo via Grandfailure