“Honestly, my depression has been so bad lately. I’m just really good at hiding it.”
Many people would have a hard time believing that the above words are some I sent to a friend just last week. If you look at my social media you’ll see many pictures and posts that give off the illusion that I’m pretty happy all the time. Beautiful flowers, latte art, pictures with some of my closest friends, and a huge smile fill my timelines. That’s the interesting, yet sometimes scary, thing about social media. We can be anyone we want to be behind the screens of our phones, tablets, and computers. We can give off the illusion that everything is going perfect and we are on cloud nine 24/7.
I enjoy getting out like the next person and taking in sunny days and having brunch dates, but other days I can’t. I deal with what they call “high-functioning depression.” Basically on the outside I seem to have it all together, but inside I feel as if everything if falling apart. This is not an everyday occurrence for me, but on the days it happens it is very real. There are days filled with chronic fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, self-doubt and many, many tears. Some days I find myself being unbelievably irritable, grumpy, and anxious. Yesterday, was one of the days for me. I worked a few hours at the studio, and smiled and conversed with many of our clients as they came in.
“You can be surrounded by tons of people and still feel alone. You can be in a relationship and still feel alone. You can have some of the best friends and family and still feel lonely, that’s how depression works.”
To those around me, most days I’m sure it seems like I have it pretty good and I’m as happy as can be. That’s the funny thing about high-functioning depression. We are able to hide it pretty well. My day was filled with hours on the couch and a few crying spells because it felt like absolutely nothing in life is going as planned. Feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, pessimism and a few naps filled my Saturday. Now, some people will read this and think “but you like your alone time.” I sure do, but there is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. You can be surrounded by tons of people and still feel alone. You can be in a relationship and still feel alone. You can have some of the best friends and family and still feel lonely, that’s how depression works. It takes away the joy of some of the good things you do have going on, leaving you to fixate on the negative.
Today, I felt compelled to go to a church I hadn’t been to in years. You know how on some Sundays the message seems as if it were written just for you? That was today for me and it actually gave me the courage to write this piece. The sermon was titled “Turn Bitter to Better.” We’ve all been in situations where we feel as though we have been let down, and it leaves us feeling cheated and bitter. We see those around us with the things we want in our own lives and when we don’t have them sometimes it does make us bitter, which obviously is not a good thing. My biggest take away from today was that in those moments of bitterness we need to take a look at the things that are going well and be thankful for them. We need to take the bitter moments and rejections and let them make us better. Once we see that they are setting us up for something even greater. When I think about my anxiety and depression I do get upset at times, that I was dealt this hand to deal with them. Then I remember that by being open and sharing my story, I may in turn be helping someone else.
Depression is real, and debilitating some days; it is exhausting and embarrassing on others. Just because you can’t always see the symptoms doesn’t mean your friend or loved one isn’t hurting. It is not something you can just get over, or an easy fix. It is not a matter of having just a bad day and needing an attitude fix. It something that is out of their control and they just need your support and love.
“It is not something you can just get over, or an easy fix. It is not a matter of having just a bad day and needing an attitude fix.”
The best piece of advice I can give to those who are dealing with depression is to talk about it. I know some days you feel like you have nobody to talk to or nobody will understand. I have those days too, and you don’t want to be a burden sharing your feelings. Having a support system can make all of the difference though. Even if it is just one person you can reach out to.
To those who know someone dealing with depression, let them know you care and are there for them. Even though you may not fully understand their illness, be a shoulder to cry on and lend an ear to listen. You know the saying “it’s the little things that count”? Well in this case it really is, you never know how simply being there can change someone’s day. Depression is not the same for everyone, keep that in mind.
I’ve said it in other pieces and I’ll say it again, to those dealing with any mental illness you are not alone. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel ashamed or inadequate because of your condition. You are stronger than you think and the illness is just a label that does not define your character. If you think nobody else cares, know that I do and I support you.
If you — or someone you know — need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Follow Jalysa King on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Jalysa_Delyn