Here’s the thing.
I am extremely blessed. In many different ways, but for the sake of this post, I want to talk about my friends. I’ve always been the type of person that liked to talk things out- whether someone was sad, happy, confused…whatever. And I’ve always had people to do that with.
While here in Indiana, I may not talk to my friends everyday, or even most days, but I know that there are people out there whom I can trust, whom I love, and who I’m just so happy to know.
But here’s the thing about depression.
If you’ve never experienced it, it’s very hard to describe, but I’m going to try. I don’t blame anyone who has told me to just cheer up, not be so pessimistic, or try yoga, because those should be logical decisions. Why wouldn’t recognizing my blessings and going on a run cure me?
Because depression doesn’t care.
Because depression is not a choice. It’s a chemical imbalance and, for me, is a product of years and years of experiences. And it’s not just the bad times. The good too. The ones that make you feel nostalgic for a time before you felt this way.
But that’s not the most difficult thing about depression.
It’s finding people to talk with about it.
I know, I said I have a lot of friends. But what do you do when you feel like there’s a limit? Only so many times you can speak with each of them before they get bored and annoyed?
I’ve never really met with a therapist who could understand everything about my life, my current social situation, my weight fluctuations, my relationship with food. Frankly, it’s annoying to try to squeeze in so much background information and simultaneously talk about “today” in 45 minute sessions.
Whenever I find a friend I feel safe talking with about these issues, I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Some are people I’ve spoken to just once or twice, others have known me for years.
But what happens when you have to talk to that person “too much?”
Depression is no ones fault, but it is extremely exhausting. And it never goes away. When I keep telling someone the same thing over and over, I can feel myself exhausting them, too, and in some cases, even pushing them away. And how can I blame them? You can’t be there for someone all of the time. Everyone needs a break.
Depression doesn’t care.
Sometimes I’ll sit in my car in tears, mentally shuffling through the list of people I trust, trying to figure out if there’s anyone I haven’t told about my feelings in a while and who could maybe handle it. But are they free? Do they have their own issues on their mind? Will this time be THE time they decide to give up on me and tell me to just get over it already?
No friend has ever made me feel like a burden. Every friend has responded, every time.
But depression doesn’t care.
When someone takes the time to listen, it’s a wonderful feeling. My friends are very good at making me laugh, guiding me to see the good in life without being condescending, and helping me to develop some self-worth in that moment.
But if that same person then doesn’t check back in with me until I reach out again, I become paranoid. I don’t ever feel anger towards the friend, truly, but I do start to wonder if I should “bother” them in the future, or maybe not put them through the agony that is listening to me express the same view of my world over and over again.
I want so often to tell people I’m sorry for taking up their time and making them listen to me speak. I want to tell them thank you for taking out time for the conversation. I want to reach out to them again. I also know that I can’t or that I shouldn’t, because of my own made up criteria, without any input from the actual people involved.
When you hang up the phone with someone, the tears don’t always stop. When someone talks you through a situation in the most perfect way, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel that way again. Depression just does not care.
It can take a long time and a lot of different approaches to the same problem to recover. I don’t mean to say that I depend fully on my friends to feel better, and that it’s their responsibility to make sure that I do. But speaking with people is the one thing that does make me feel…heard. It’s also the one thing that can leave me with a lot of guilt and “I’m sorry’s” ready in my draft folder.
My friends would never need those apologies. They tell me all the time that they love me and that they’ll be there for me if I need anything. I hear them, but I’m not sure it always registers. My internal dialogue, like my external voice, can get just a bit too loud. But I know my friends wouldn’t lie. I try to tell myself that often.
Depression doesn’t care.