*All the Lonely People

Depression is hard to kick. Don’t kid yourself. You probably can’t do it on your own. Your best bet is to find a doctor or therapist you trust, and open up to them about everything you’re feeling. I don’t have to tell you, if you have depression, the myriad of symptoms that go along with the “sad” feeling, because it really is more than just feeling sad. People who have never experienced true depression have no clue what it’s all about, and may not understand it’s not something you can just “shake”, or talk yourself out of. Some more severe ways depression manifests itself are, not only the complete lack of ability to see out of the abyss, but the inability to even function on a basic level. Getting out of bed can be the hardest and biggest accomplishment you make for the day. I think that even doctors and therapists who have never experienced depression don’t understand just how hard that can be to someone in the throes of it all, but at least they try.

I worked in a psych hospital, on the adult in-patient unit, right out of college. I was a tech, who worked directly with the patients (clients), talking with the about their experiences for the day, the reason they were there, how they could get better, etc, one on one and in groups. It is, to this day, my favorite job. I’d do it again, if the situation was right. I worked with people who had depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, borderline disease, multiple personalities, psychotic breaks, catatonic episodes, eating disorders, schizophrenia, delusions, hallucinations, and other altered mental states. I learned so much there. I was young, and I soaked it all in. I was great on the crisis hotline. I didn’t have a clue what these people were experiencing. I approached their problems from a mentally healthy state, having never experienced the mental illness they were there for. I did the best I could. I didn’t even understand that I didn’t understand! I just pushed through, thinking I could fix them, with the help of the nurses on-staff, and somehow the doctors helped. I hope, 25 years later, that I didn’t do anything to further their illness.

Now I know that getting better from a mental illness so serious as to need hospitalization takes more than sitting with a 22 year old at the end of the hall, talking about why I’m suicidal. Yes, we all need to get to the bottom of why we feel certain ways, but sometimes depression doesn’t have a “why”. Sometimes there is no reason for the racing heart that keeps creeping further up into your throat, and the inexplicable need to move…something.

Have you noticed that people don’t call you as much anymore? Friends, unless they’ve experienced, don’t understand why you’re “Still” depressed. Can’t they do something about it? Happy people just don’t want to be around depressed people, neither do depressed people. They are already depressed enough. They don’t want your issues, too. Being depressed is a lonely illness. What are we supposed to do about it?

First of all, take the step that seems too hard. If it’s getting out of bed every day, then get out of bed every day. If it’s getting dressed every day, then do that. If it’s going out, then get yourself together and go out. Go to the store, or the park. Go to the coffee shop and sit and write or draw or just people watch. Being around people can do wonders for your mood.

It’s amazing how suddenly a mood can just lift. Sometimes you can feel it leave. Sometimes it’s just gone. If you can push yourself a little more each day, and regularly see your doctor or therapist, you may be amazed at the end results. There is a light, and it’s actually shining all around you. You just have to figure out how to open your eyes to it. Shed the darkness, the shame and the fear. You are worthy of a Life beyond everything you ever imagined. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Your next step could be into the sunshine, as the clouds part above you, and the rainbow falls at your feet.