Long post today. Tl;dr at the bottom.
It’s really hard for me to be honest with myself sometimes. I avoid acknowledging the core issues of my problems because I am afraid they will be too hard to confront. Or I am afraid people will think less of me for them.
And yes, I know there are people who care about me, who would love me regardless of my problems. I know there are people who can help.
And yet… That old, draining, cold voice in my head says I should keep my problems to myself. That I should ignore them as much as possible, and not impose my problems on others. That other people already have too many other things on their plate and that I should be strong enough to handle it on my own.
I know I’ve had depression for years, but I’ve only skimmed the surface of confronting it, of targeting the disease. Instead, I’ve focused on managing its many symptoms: eating disorders, anxiety, lethargy, anger, escapism, etc. etc.
Is it any wonder that the same symptoms keep resurfacing?
I finally was brave enough to read the health literature on what I should do. I’m a fucking scientist; I should have done this ages ago, but then again… Confrontation.
And one of the major things that stuck out to me (besides the things I’d already realized I’d been trying, such as endorphin boosts by exercise, keeping myself busy, and attending to my social skills) was the need for patients to have a gatekeeper of sorts. People who are aware of the problem, who can act as a sounding board on both the bad days and the good ones.
I haven’t been brave enough to triangle my family into this and I’ve lost a sense of closeness with my friends over the past years as I’ve continued to retreat inside my own head rather than accept the problem for what it is. It is a problem and it is serious and very much like a disease. I know that and I will work on improving my relationships and being brave enough to voice my own problems. God knows I don’t want it to get worse; I have been blessed with many gifts and I don’t want them continuously wasted like this.
But the first step, I thought about was to voice it on my blog. In my journal, my words may not be read by someone who can see the problem for what it is. And I’ve never really been brave enough to confess my problems outside of the therapy sessions I’ve been in. My “everything’s alright” facade that I like to project isn’t really me… It’s my wall, my barrier that I think is protecting me even when it isn’t. In some ways, I think my other blog comes from the “true me” better, despite it consisting of fiction.
But I have depression and here I am on this blog, letting it sink in. And I think that if I am strong enough to say it even anonymously, I will become strong enough to say it to the people I love.
Sorry if this seems like a lot of rambling. I will try to be more coherent in future posts. Today, though, I just wanted to get this out there, make it irrevocably exist somewhere before I decide to delete it, erase it, or pretend it never happened.
To the kind people who will recommend therapy, anti-depressants, or similar treatments, I thank you for your concern and I have considered (and even tried) them before. I am safe and not considering self-harm. As someone with more intimate knowledge than usual of health care and depression, I am aware of clinical treatments and of all of my options with which to access them. But for the purposes of my blog, I would like to focus on the life, rather than clinical aspects of treating the disease here. I will mention the clinical part if needed, but it’s not my primary reason for writing.
Thank you to my kind readers and I hope you have a lovely and safe holiday weekend.
Tl;dr: I have depression, but haven’t been brave enough to confess it to others before now. I am confronting it from a combination of science and other approaches. I am safe. More on it later.
Notes: Image by Biswarup Ganguly