I can’t even begin to tell you how much I HATE hearing opinions of people who think they know what’s best for me and my life simply because they see me for a few hours every day. It gets old real fast!
Awareness of mental illness on general is also important because I was very clearly struggling when I was a kid but I didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue what anxiety was and only knew depression from the glamourized way the media portrayed it. Whenever I tried to express my feelings, I was simply invalidated by my family. When I had unexplained physical symptoms, no one ever thought to consider anxiety. Instead I was left in agonizing pain for years without an explanation as to why. One doctor even had the nerve to tell my dad that it was all in my head. Looking back now, it was so incredibly obvious I had anxiety, but years of being invalidated let me unable to feel safe expressing my feelings and convincing myself that I was just being overdramatic or I sucked at handling life. I didn’t know that I was struggling with legitimate medical conditions that could be treated. I didn’t know I didn’t have to live like that.
What We Can’t Forget to Talk About When We Spread Suicide Awareness
Most people would never know that I’ve been suicidal, simply by looking at me. If there was anyone in my life who had consistently seen me every day for the past 5 years, they might see a slight difference in my overall mood from day to day, but I tend to keep my true feelings bottled up inside and no one ever sees them. Based on what I’ve learned of Chester Bennington, I suspect he was very much the same. I think this photo his wife posted on Twitter recently is proof that it’s not always obvious that someone is suicidal.
Look at that smile. He was with his family, and very clearly happy in that moment. I often find it very easy to be present in the moment, although, to be honest, it’s been a lot more difficult in the past 15 months. But usually, it comes very naturally, for me to smile and joke around and genuinely enjoy the moment. It’s once I’m alone that things go bad.
It’s still surprising, even to me, that this guy with this happy smile, took his life only a few days after that photo was taken.
Trigger warning: suicide, suicidal thoughts & ideation
I think this is probably one of the most accurate descriptions of my depression I have ever read. Why are other people so much better at words than I am?! OMG!
What It Feels Like Going to Work With ‘High-Functioning’ Depression
This is so relatable!
“Sometimes I have what seems like a burst of anger and people think I have anger issues and that I’m being rude to people. I’m actually having anxiety and getting overwhelmed and it comes out as frustration and anger. I wish when it happened those close to me would take a minute to ask if I’m OK and what they can do for me instead of getting annoyed or saying I have anger issues. I hate that people think I’m rude to others when really, I just have anxiety.” — Sarah A.
~ The Mighty, 15 Secrets of ‘Rude’ People With Anxiety
Before I knew I had anxiety and depression, I had convinced myself that I had anger issues. I’ve you’ve read some of my earlier posts about how I ended up getting diagnosed, you’ll know that I realized something was legitimately wrong after hearing Wil Wheaton’s story on Aisha Tyler’s podcast. It felt like he was describing me. I’d forgotten this until just now, as I started writing this paragraph, but I had had the thought, on several occasions, to go to the doctor before hearing Wil’s story, but I was sure that I’d be told I just have anger issues and that I needed to suck it up and deal with it or that I needed to go to anger management. I think it was the moments where I found myself sobbing over the stupidest shit and being completely overwhelmed with everything in my life that made me think that, but then I’d remember all the anger I kept bottled up that was beginning to spill out at work when I was getting close to reaching my breaking point. I think that’s why hearing Wil describe his experience, at the exact moment I did, has such an impact on me. He explained how he was not “sad” but just always agitated and it was exactly how I was feeling right around that time, in addition to simply being completely overwhelmed. Once I found out I had anxiety and depression – and did some research to figure out exactly what that meant – it was like suddenly the lightbulb went on and everything in my entire life made complete sense.
What difference does it make if I get up? Struggle through the day? Do it all again tomorrow.
What have I achieved? Staying alive? Is this what life is? Painful numbness. Aching loneliness. Misunderstanding. Misjudgment. Endless justification.
When Depression Makes You Tired of ‘Taking It One Day at a Time’
“Even the littlest things could affect me in the biggest way.”
You don’t realize how incredibly hurtful the smallest thing can feel when a person is actively struggling with depression. Especially hidden/concealed/functioning/high functioning/smiling depression. We may look fine on the outside, but that’s just the nature of our personalities. Depression is tearing us apart on the inside already and we could be having what feels like the worst possible day of our lives. Add your small comment or joke and it could easily send us over the edge. It’s possible to know what someone else is dealing with at any given moment.
The Words People With Depression Leave Unsaid
I’m not a robot. I still experience happiness — but it’s fleeting. I’ll laugh hard over a joke or smile through an entire episode of my favorite show, but as soon as it’s over, I’ll snap right back to my sadness.
It’s like the happy moment never happened at all. Like it was wiped from my brain as soon as it ended.
It’s almost scary when I find others who describe exactly how I feel. When I was in the deepest part of my latest depressive episode, this is exactly how I felt. Especially the snapping back… Except it wasn’t really sadness, it was just nothingness. One second I’d be laughing at my dog being a weirdo, and then it would stop abruptly and I’d immediately be back to feeling nothing.
When You Don’t Have Enough Energy to Hate How Depression Makes You Feel
Just because it looks like I’m always doing well doesn’t mean I am.
I’ve developed a natural defence mechanism (not intentionally, it just happens) where I basically hide everything I truly feel. When it starts spilling out, that’s a good indicator that it’s really bad because probably only 5% of how I REALLY feel actually comes out to see the light of day. The other 95% is boiling inside me, building, creating stress out of nothing and causing so much anguish that I feel like I’m going to burst, but I never do. Instead, it leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms for release. Course when depression leads me to feeling nothing at all, that’s a whole different can of worms.
Having severe depression doesn’t mean I look severe.
Just because I don’t look depressed doesn’t mean I’m not. And just because I, and my life, don’t resemble the idea you have in your head about what “severe depression” must be, doesn’t change the reality of having it.
This is something my counsellor said to me a lot when I was in my deepest depressive state. My life looks good on paper, yet I’m still unhappy.
Pills don’t make me happy, period. No matter how happy I am, it is never because of the medication I take. Medication is a life vest, but I still have to do the swimming. Medication can not make you happy. It simply can’t.
That’s also not at all how antidepressants work. They don’t make you happy. They adjust how the chemicals in your brain work, to ease depressive symptoms and help get you back to, somewhat, “normal.” In truth, a lot of people say they make their emotions feel flat. They help to get you out of the pit of despair but that’s all they do. They can’t create happiness for you out of nothing. They just get you to the point where you’re able to find happiness on your own because when you’re trapped in the blackness of depression, happiness is nowhere to be seen. Not to mention, simply making you happy wouldn’t solve a thing.
19 Problems Only Happy People With Depression Understand
Chester’s suicide has been weighing very heavy on my heart since I heard on Thursday evening. I haven’t been able to go more than 10 minutes without his pain popping into my thoughts. This letter from the band makes it even more difficult to comprehend because he seemed to be in a good place leading up to this.
Linkin Park is one of my favourite bands, and Chester had one of the most incredible voices out there. I’ve always felt a deep connection to their lyrics and I learned recently that Chester’s depression effected him in a very similar way mine effects me. The most dangerous place to be is inside our own heads. Having been very suicidal just a few days before this happened (moreso than my normal passive suicidal thoughts) I can’t help but wonder if that’s what ultimately took his life, being stuck in his own mind for too long during a time that was very difficult but he never expressed it outwardly. When I’m really struggling, I know I don’t show it. I don’t intentionally try to hide it, it’s just a natural defense mechanism, combined with growing up being taught to keep my feelings to myself.
Linkin Park’s original Instagram post…
Today was hard.
I struggled to keep myself from crying at work. I couldn’t think. I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. Course, that’s how I’ve been feeling nearly every day for the past several months. Today was particularly difficult. We had a developer meeting, going over details of a new feature of our software, and I had a very hard time sitting still (course my ADHD doesn’t help, but when my depression is also bad, nothing helps) and I found myself trying to catch up several times because I zoned out and then suddenly something specific was being discussed and I missed the beginning and felt lost.
I had a follow-up (which is basically the only kind of appointment I ever have because my depression is not going away) with my doctor this morning. I had a hard time telling him how I was feeling. I don’t think the depth of my depression right now came across properly. It never does. Course I did finally tell him, not at my last appointment, but the one before, that I’m not good at saying how bad it really is. He remembered last time because he did bring it up. I’m not sure if he thought of that this time though. I didn’t tell him everything that was going on. I always chicken out or can’t find the right words. That’s a whole other story that I need to properly write about, but I can’t seem to concentrate long enough to actually do it.
I just watched this video and I started crying all over again. I related to this so much. I’ve always felt like I’m worse when I’m alone. I am not nice to myself. When I am around other people, it’s pretty easy for me to be present, in the moment, most of the time (when things are particularly bad, like right now, it’s not so easy at all) but then when I’m alone, it’s like the entire world is crashing down on me. He describes it so well.
Side note: I’m not sure why the uploader of this video titled it as being a cry for help, because that’s not at all how it comes across. It simply sounds, to me anyway, like he’s describing his depression. Either way, it’s a good video.