Not that long ago this song came across my Facebook feed. While I know the song well and have always loved it, the version above was different enough in tone that it reached inside me and touched something that I don’t speak much about. My depression.
I’ve certainly written about it. People know I suffer from it. But talking is different.
I do reach out and tell those who care that I’m in a depressed state, because that’s important, but I don’t dwell. I don’t give details. I might share a small amount, but the problem with depression is that it leads to apathy. And unlike every other thing I’ve dealt with, depression is the one thing that doesn’t get better the more I talk about it verbally.
In fact, it gets worse.
Describing depression is difficult. For people that haven’t felt it long term, they have a hard time relating. Feeling sad and withdrawn in a moment is different than constant depression. The second of these is always there. I can have the best day ever, be smiling and happy, and underneath still feel the depression.
It’s always there. Haunting me.
I wouldn’t even consider myself unhappy in life. Sure I’ve got problems and things I deal with. The hubby had a horrible car accident many months ago and we’re still dealing with the outcome of that. One thing leads to another and it’s just a lot. But these things—while tough and stressful—aren’t at the root of my depression.
My depression is more like emptiness.
No matter what I do, it’s always there.
When the first Matrix movie came out and I was sitting in the theater watching it, I heard Morpheus say, “You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad,” and I thought… Yes.
This is what my depression feels like. And oddly, it ties more to the world around me than that which is dwells within me. From everything I’ve ever been told about depression it ‘should’ work in the opposite. I should be depressed because something internal is wrong. But this is rarely the case.
It’s not that I don’t doubt I have internal stuff wrong too. I know I do. I’ve had a lot of trauma and bullshit and exposure to horrors I shouldn’t even know exist. Yet these things aren’t what make me depressed. That comes from this strange feeling like everything is wrong. It’s all upside down.
I know others feel this too. I used to make youtube videos. In fact, I was quite addicted for a while. And I got a lot of people messaging me that they felt the same thing. It’s like an emptiness that’s actually quite full. But it’s full of all the wrong things.
The people that feel this way seem to have an unspoken language. We talk without speaking, hear without listening, and it’s because we connect on a deep level. We can see it in one another’s eyes. Sense it in a bated breath. We understand one another at a core level. Words are not always necessary.
I’m currently in one of these places and I have been for a while now. Many months.
I’ve not let it consume me. I’ve kept putting energy into my projects and family and friends, and I’ve felt my depression without letting it take over. And though I’ve had a lot of struggles lately with the standard sometimes life sucks stuff, I’ve also been quite happy. I’ve met even more amazing people. I’ve felt joy and pleasure and gratitude. These things are not supposed to be able to exist with depression, yet here I am, saying, “Yes! They do!”
It makes me realize that while depression always gets such a bad reputation, maybe there’s a point to it. Maybe it’s not the depression itself that’s the problem, but us letting it control us. Letting it shift us into a place of apathy.
Maybe depression exists to do the exact opposite.
I’ve put this theory to the test several times now. I wanted to see what the result would be if I took these feelings and used them to shift something instead. Just like everything we feel has purpose, this emptiness, this sense that everything is backwards and wrong and upside down, the sense that there’s no such thing as hope, is just a motivator to change things.
Like silence being the cancer that grows, so is apathy. Our depression can take us there, or it can act like anger does. Anger comes when we’ve seen injustice of some sort. It comes when we’re fed up and want to stop the injustice. What if depression is the same? What if we take it as something to be medicated when really we need it to motivate us?
I know this sounds like an oxymoron. Most people go inward and stop caring when they’re depressed. Many just want to die. But this is the point where it’s been allowed to consume too much. Just as suppressed anger turns to rage. We have to stop it before it gets this far.
The more I’m letting this feeling act as a motivator, the less I feel that apathy take hold.
These are my thoughts, and I know I’m not a therapist or scientist. This is something I’ve noticed and wanted to share. I feel science gets things wrong all the time simply because it’s easier to medicate it than seek understanding. It only makes sense that everything we feel serves a purpose. Otherwise why does it exist?
I do accept that depression is a clinical term. Some people have a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes it. The type of depression I’m referring to is different.
It wasn’t that long ago that I realized I needed to stop pushing things aside and feel them instead. I need to embrace all my feelings. Even depression. This goes against the new age-ish theory of just releasing. Release is fine, but release to feel, not to send it off into the ether.
I’m a firm believer that feeling allows us to heal. I was told that I couldn’t heal my C-PTSD. That I could treat it, but not heal it. Guess what? I am healing it. Yes, it takes exposure to my triggers (as I become ready), and it takes feeling all those suppressed emotions. But I’m healing. The triggers go away once I’ve faced them and have allowed myself to feel. I have so few triggers now it doesn’t seem real. Yet it’s fact that cannot be ignored.
The same goes for my depression and the lifelong struggle I’ve had with it.
I will embrace this depression, but I will allow it to motivate me rather than consume.
For those of you not speaking, know I hear you. Loud and clear. And I love you.