Dear loved ones, and/or whoever might like to read this:
Yes, I struggle with depression.
Depression can be frustrating and exhausting to try to explain it to others.
The reason for this letter is to try and express what I sometimes find hard to express in words or even in person.
Depression is hard to understand for those who have never experienced it, so I would like to try and explain or rather describe what it feels like, so you can understand why I behave the way I do sometimes.
I feel sadness all the time. It is a constant in my days even on those when you see me smiling.
It doesn’t allow me to rejoice in anything at all. I may smile at something or someone or I may be glad for something or someone but I am never happy.
Depression drains me of everything both mentally and physically.
In order to save energy, I may even just say I’m fine, all is good, so as not have to go into it.
It is not easy to overcome and I promise that if it were, I would have done it already.
Could you imagine what if would be like to live every minute of every day in sadness? Because that is what I live every day.
It is absolutely exhausting to feel like this all the time.
The easy thing would be to give into it and cease existing.
Depression is not logical. And that is why it’s so difficult to understand.
So on top of what Depression makes you believe you feel, there is the guilt of KNOWING your feelings are completely distorted and on many occasions unfounded.
The guilt of KNOWING the sadness is not logical and there is love around you, but because you cannot feel anything positive, it all goes around in circles making it harder to feel less sad.
In my particular life situation, I have NOTHING to be sad about. But does that stop the sadness? NO! It makes it worse interlinked with guilt and I just want to get back into bed and sleep those terrible feelings off because they hurt so bloody much!
The truth is I have millions of reasons to be happy and grateful. I am fully aware of them but because my brain is misbehaving it doesn’t allow me to see and feel it and I get engulfed in guilt which throws me down even further
Sleeping, I hide from having to also face what I make others feel or see.
Being told to be positive however makes it worse. It does not help at all.
Depression does not work that way and therefore my brain cannot work that way at the moment.
If you want to help me, I need you to please know firstly, that I try every single day to get out of this black cloud.
Secondly and for the time being, I need things to be on my terms if that’s ok. If it’s not, I completely understand and will probably need to keep away for a while until I get better.
I feel more broken and ‘fragile’ than I care to admit.
Down the line, I might need a bit of a push, but right now, tough love is not what I need.
I need to know you are here for me. I forget sometimes, and I get lonely, so a gentle reminder every now and then would come in handy.
My thoughts generally start fine, and rooted in reality, but they very quickly speed off to a world and distorted reality of their own. That’s when I get into trouble. So if I were to ask you to let me know if I have gone off too far into my negative thoughts, would you kindly help me come back to reality?
The truth is, it catches me unawares. One morning I may wake up refreshed and I may truly see the light and sun outside. Other mornings though, I may wake up feeling the exact opposite. I cannot find a pattern to foresee these dark days. And because they catch me by surprise, they catch you by surprise also.
Help me with my interpretation and view of things.
I have no motivation to do anything and will not always say yes to suggestions or invitations. Please keep insisting though, but don’t get angry in the instances when I say no.
Just don’t give up on me please.
Help me help others understand what I am going through. If anyone mentions anything about my behaviours or questions my ‘sanity’ please help me by explaining to them what I have just explained to you.
There is still a stigma around Depression, in fact, all mental health problems, so the more we share what it is like, the less stigma and the more people with mental health problems can start to breathe and be themselves with no guilt or feeling they have to apologise or will even be judged for it.
Of course, you are allowed to be upset, angry, even hurt, especially about some of my behaviour on certain instances.
I just ask that you understand that on those instances, I am not being quite myself, or the self you know. It is the Depression doing the talking or behaving and to this day I still haven’t mastered how to fully control it, although as I said before, I am constantly working on it.
I understand and even know that one can create and choose their own thoughts. And I am learning to do so. There are times, however, when those negative thoughts are so strong, that they become feelings or emotions, and that is where the issue really lies.
So as I mentioned a couple of times before, it is something I am working on. I just need time. And space. And the knowledge you are on my team, and still have my back.
This is not easy, and bearing myself fully isn’t easy either but I feel it is the only way me, and others struggling with this can truly start taking steps into better days. Accepting and sharing and working on it.
I will repeat myself here, but this is a constant battle and there will be times when we will have less energy than other days…
Don’t give up on us, because the reason why we share and let you know all this is because we have not given up on ourselves either!