I’ve never been depressed. Sure, I’ve had bad times and I’ve had my own share of craziness. I’ve laid in bed at night and started crying for no rhyme or reason at all. But overall, even when things are as dark as can be, I am lucky enough to have the ability to say “I’m feeling depressed,” as opposed to “I have depression.”
I’ve never been depressed, but I’m slowly learning that there’s a big difference between those statements, and the key word is feeling.
In Driving Off a Bridge and Other Fears, I discussed a very confusing and difficult situation between Wilbur and myself. It was written out of pure and raw emotion at, what I thought, was the end of a promising relationship. That post was written from the perspective of a sad, rejected, and very confused young woman with no idea of the horrors depression can have on a person; this post is being written from the perspective of the same woman, now humbled and contemplative of what two months difference can make in understanding and education.
Following that post in January, Wilbur contacted me only three short days later. We talked. A lot. And some hard things were discussed as to what had caused the entire “Hiccup” in our relationship. The underlying factor was his depression.
I had known he struggled with depression, but I didn’t know to what extent. In all honesty, I hadn’t considered his condition to be more than just something to be aware of, and I definitely never thought it would wiggle into our lives and cause such destructive thoughts. Since our make-up, though, I’ve done a lot of reading on depression and cannot believe how off I was in my thinking of the condition.
Depression is literally one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can face. It’s sometimes feeling sad, but it also brings feelings of emptiness, isolation, and self-hate. Those afflicted can feel paralyzed in their own minds and bodies. It’s not something they can simply “get over.”
People who suffer from depression often feel frustrated with feeling like they are a burden to those they care about. With this, they tend to push away people they need the most and end up mentally exhausting themselves with worrying about if their sadness is bringing down their loved ones as well.
Does this sound incredibly disheartening to you? It does to me. It breaks my heart that this person I care so deeply about has this internal battle going on and there’s nothing I can do to help. And that’s the worst part: there is nothing I can do to help!
In addition to taking the time to educate myself on what Wilbur goes through sometimes, I also have been teaching myself some self-bettering skills. One is patience. Another is that words are not always the best gift. Seriously, saying things like, “Things will get better.” or “You’re going to be okay.” are not ideal. Instead, I’ve begun training myself to simply be there for him during the times he needs me, and stressing that I will be beside him through everything for as long as he asks me to be. Offering advice isn’t helpful because, well, I simply don’t know exactly what he is going through. So just being there for him, believing in him, and encouraging him are some of the only things I’m able to provide.
I won’t pretend to understand depression as a whole. I’m not sure if anyone can actually claim such a thing. However, I am slowly treading the waters, becoming more knowledgeable of an invisible poison hidden in this sinful world and also becoming more compassionate to those in our society who have suffered for far too long from something beyond their control. Educate yourself, friends! And maybe then the world will begin to become a bit more welcoming on an environment for all…
Change has to begin somewhere.