Telling people you have depression is not exactly a fun things to do. I have a degree in Psychology. Ive worked with troubled teens, in a jail, in a high school, and I KNOW what depression is. And yet I still hold this stigma against it. I carry embarrassment. I feel the need to explain that Im on Prozac FOR ANXIETY NOT DEPRESSION. Why do I feel the need to do that? Because I don’t want to admit I have it. I don’t want to look weak or have people look at me differently. Because its not cancer, its not brain rot. Its just plain old , ugly ass, yucky, shitty, depression.
I think I always had it. Several of my relatives do. But it reared its ugly head when my Dad was killed. And it got worse with brain rot. I tried an anti depressant for the first time 11 years go and HATED it. It had awful side effects so I quit. Months went by before my doctor said “hey lets try something else.” When she said “Prozac” I thought I was becoming some silly suburban cliché. I have my physical health, great kids, a job I love, freedom, good friends….what the fuck could be wrong with me that all of that is not enough? And it took me some time to know that I could have everything in the world and it wouldn’t mean I didn’t have depression. I have depression. And Prozac and exercise and sunshine and mountains keep depression from HAVING ME. Im lucky that medication works (most of the time) for me. For some….it doesn’t.
And here’s the thing about depression….it most often doesn’t look like a sad monster in a corner. It is smiles, happiness, joy, health, hiking, friends, a good relationship, great kids, sleeping ok, succeeding at work, and LOOKING like all the shit is right where it should be. And sometimes all the shit IS where it should be. But my mind doesn’t work like others. And sometimes depression looks like anxiety, paranoia, lack of sleep, sadness, isolation, anger, pessimism & meanness. That’s the thing about it. It looks like it looks. And I don’t know what that will be each day. And managing it is what I do. I am acutely aware of how Im one of the lucky ones. Im happy. Im successful. Im good. Most of the time. And I know some aren’t.
I have depression. I have depression. I HAVE DEPRESSION. I treat it with Prozac, exercise, sleep, talking, writing, reading, sharing. So if you had an idea in your head of what depression looks like….you are probably right. It looks like smiles and family and hiking and friends and tears and the Mom next door and the kid at school. It looks like beauty and ugly and loneliness and joy and laughter and all the stuff. ALL. THE. STUFF.
I have depression. And its ok if you do to. Its OK. It can feel like a lonely walk. But you aren’t alone. You aren’t.
I have depression. Depression doesn’t have me.