4 Things I Actually Need You to Understand About My Depression
This piece was written by Lovely Tesorio, a Thought Catalog contributor.
In a world where we glorify sarcasm and bash on sensitivity, it is getting harder and harder to cope with depression. People often belittle depression. They seem to associate it with random mood swings. You share just a little piece of how you truly feel and then you get judged, mocked and made fun of. People often tell you to “move on” and “get over it” because it’s not anything physical. But that’s where they are wrong. Depression involves all aspects of a person’s life. It can affect a person emotionally, mentally and physically.
Let me share with you just some of the things I faced (and continue to face) in my battle against depression.
I think about them every time my brain is not preoccupied. For example, when I cross the street, I stare at the passing vehicles and think of how easy it would be to die. I think about suicide notes. Then I begin to wonder if people would attend my funeral. Would they cry? Would they regret things they’ve said to me? Would they even care enough to come? Then my heart begins to feel a painful squeeze as I imagine myself being buried without anyone mourning for me. The emotions of self-loathing get heavier. And then I feel helpless. And alone. And insignificant.
2. My panic attacks have the worst timing.
They get triggered by the littlest actions and then all of a sudden, my whole body feels cold. I start to sweat profusely and it gets harder to breathe. I try to think of all the things my psychiatrist told me. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Unfortunately, those happy thoughts don’t work all the time. I clench my chest and lock myself in the bathroom again. I can’t let anyone see me like this. I can’t be weak. People hate it when I’m weak. I try to inhale as much air as I can, but it’s useless. I feel like everything I try to breathe in doesn’t even reach my lungs. It’s going to be fine. I’m going to be fine. I repeat this to myself over and over again.
3. Crying spells at night are a problem, too.
I don’t want anyone to see me cry because I’m afraid I’d be labeled too sensitive and too shallow. They would ask me why I’m crying and I’d try to explain, but some people wouldn’t and couldn’t understand. So I’ve practiced the art of crying silently instead. I let my tears fall uncontrollably as they soak my pillow. Every night, I cry myself to sleep as I hope that my eyes will eventually get tired and my body will finally allow me to sleep without nightmares. Eventually, I fall asleep hating myself for feeling too much. Why am I like this?
4. Then some days, it gets really, really bad.
The pain becomes too much. Everything just hurts and the pain starts to destroy the little self-love I have left. I self-harm. My vision is blurred by tears but I sense the familiar sting and I feel relief and guilt all at the same time. I knew it was wrong but at least, this was a kind of pain that I could control. I’d make one cut, and then another, and then another. I continue to cry because I know I shouldn’t harm myself, but I don’t know how to cope anymore. I have my family and friends but I do not feel like they are there for me. I lock myself in the bathroom for hours and then I look for a huge wrist band as an attempt to cover the cuts. I go out and act like nothing ever happened and everybody around me does the same.
Depression can do a lot of things to a person and it can manifests in several other ways other than what I have shared above. So the next time you meet someone who tells you that he or she is depressed, don’t tell her to “get over it,” just give them a hug. Make them feel loved and treasured. Abandon the sarcasm and mean words and replace them with simple gestures of kindness and empathy. Just be sensitive, because sometimes, that’s all someone with depression needs.
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Getty Images photo via AnkDesign