The funny thing – not funny in the humorous way, but in the ironic I-have-to-laugh-to-keep-from-crying kind of way – about depression and anxiety is that no one really understands how you feel.
“But so many people have depression, there’s a lot of people who can empathize with how you feel”. Ah yes imaginary internet person, but empathizing and experiencing it is completely different. You see, I can empathize with the African American communities that are experiencing extreme discrimination in the United States, but I can’t relate because I live in Canada and I am mostly Caucasian. Or I can relate to how annoying allergies but I don’t know how badly your body reacts to things because we are different. That’s the thing. Each cell, each strand of hair and pore on our bodies are different then someone elses. Our entire body has unique dna, the chemicals our brain produces to regulate our mood is also extremely unique and selective to only you, or me. Our “triggers” are also different. Summer may bring one depressed person relief from the cloudy and miserable weather, but summer reminds me of my dads death, of being sexually assaulted & now of losing my dog.
Dairy Queen, Mr. O’donnell, the phantom of the opera, crisp winter air and the taste of tears remind me that I will never feel worthy, that I am disposable and that the boy I “loved” came out and that is was because of me, irrational I know but when he tells you in anger that he will kill himself or ‘go’ gay if I leave him I can’t help but blame myself.
The smell of beer reminds me of the time I was sexually assaulted, cold hands remind me of how much he took away from me. I am no longer mine, I am a body trapped forever in that bed trying so hard to get him to stop.
Candle smoke, single wrapped hotdogs, Tim Horton coffee reminds me of my dad, stale air, hand sanitizer and kind strangers reminds me of the last time I saw him before he went to heaven.
And hot days like today, Sunday mornings, little black and brown dogs, the world reminds me of my itty bitty Jayda who passed away way to soon.
So, the not so funny thing about depression is that your fears of being alone is true. You are alone in how you feel. Your alone in the way your triggers haunt you. You are alone in the way your body processes chemicals. The not so funny thing about it is that you are fighting your own battle that no one can see and you alone are the only one who can change what and who you are. You cannot find happiness or a sense of “home” in a person, you cannot base your happiness on what other people think is right, or normal, or the proper way of doing things. You have to fight this alone. That’s the only way you can beat it; the only way you can assure that the darkness doesn’t take you is to make yourself happy first, no matter how much it hurts.
“How does putting yourself first hurt?” Again with the questions, but in my case because of my need to please, my intense sense of self dread, of not feeling worthy, I believe the feelings of the people around me are more important then my own. I blame this a lot on my sister and the way she bullied me as a child but I can’t place blame on other people for the way that I have turned out no matter how much their actions or words hurt or affected me in anyway. Anyways, putting my needs first, voicing my opinion and any basic self care has always been hard for me to do. I don’t take the time to heal from things, I sweep things under the rug until I’m tripping over it and falling face first into the mountain I created. I hold on to the words people say to me until I am being eaten alive by parasitic self doubt and overly analyzed words. I fear that I won’t be believed, because my words have never been. But I know that has to stop if I ever want to begin to live again, if I ever want to go to sleep without crying myself there.
So I guess the not so funny thing about depression is that it either eats you alive or you grow from it and that’s the choice you have to make.