I posted this in the general forum, but I figured I would narrow it down a bit to post for you guys.
I wanted to get into some real shit and talk about depression. I'm hoping to reach those who share in this and to possibly educate those who want to read a primary source of the mental illness.
As you may know, the recent passing of beloved actor/comedian Robin Williams was the "hot topic" for a while, but a somewhat lesser discussed idea was his depression...
What is depression?
Well, according to the medical definition found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a (1) : a state of feeling sad (2) : a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty with thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide.
So there's the past five years of my life in a few organized sentences?
What a dictionary definition does not tell you is what depression is in your life.
It was around the end of my freshman year in high school that I initially suspected I might be depressed. In the usual high school fashion, I swapped out my old group of friends for...
Yeah, my friends decided to become the scene group in my school. The grease-monkeys. Potheads. Dropouts...
So, at the end of my freshman year, on top of being very overwhelmed by the reality of high school academics and social structure, I had little to no support. No foundation. I had my family at home, but I couldn't have Mom and Dad take my hand and walk me through the rest of my life.
This was the first taste of what an independent life would be. The kind of freedom that you always dream about as a kid. The kind that I wish I didn't have. This freedom? What was "free" about being lonely?
It was around this time that my parents revealed to me the history of depression on both sides of the family. I began to realize what those pills that Mom took every night were. And Nana. And Aunt Fay. And Grandpa...
Depression is this essence of failure that walks in your shadow. The idea of never being good enough for anyone. It is the thought that grounds your smile so it only lasts a moment. Its the fear of being alone...anywhere...anytime. That maybe no one will come back and you'll be left alone.
Depression is the anger you build, the frustration at the face of this sudden weakness. Your friend calls you strong and you cringe at the thought of how wrong they are. If only they dug a little deeper. Maybe they would see it too. Maybe they could help.
Depression is a label. A badge. One that you carry around so that, if people know to look, they will see it...and nothing else.
Depression is separation. Isolation. The fear of dragging anyone you care about into your purgatory.
Depression is holding back the tears, wanting to scream for someone to please fucking help me...
Depression is wanting someone to be there, close to you, not to share the pain, but be a blissful distraction.
Depression is knowing that her beauty and kindness deserve a stable, genuine kind of love.
I've been living with depression since the end of freshman year in high school (almost 5 years now). It wasn't until a couple months ago that I finally asked about anti-depressants. I was scared of them. I knew people who took them, how they described this sort of artificial happiness. A numbness to the pain. All wrapped in a tiny pill. I hated the thought of something someone concocted in a lab somewhere would now be the source of my happiness. I needed something outside of me, to make me happy.
But I talked to my doctor. I told him my concerns. I told him my history of counseling, therapy. What worked and didn't work. Who I thought I was and who I thought I would be. I spent about 2 hours talking to him. Part of me thought I was convincing him that I did not need these pills. Another part of me was hoping I was proving how desperately I wanted to hang on.
The way I saw it, I had two futures in front of me: the one with anti-depressants, or the one that might not exist long.
"The way it looks...it seems that your depression is not very circumstantial, but organic"
"There was a good chance that you would inherit the kind of depression that has been running in your family lines"
There's a good chance that I may never outgrow it. That it will never just...go away after a few years.
Depression is wanting to put an end to the pain.
Depression is reading about the famous musicians, poets, Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain and all that. They did it.
They did it.
Depression is thinking how much of a burden your death would be to the rest of your family.
Depression is putting others far above yourself.
It's September 30th, 2014. I've been on anti-depressants for about three refills now. I take one a day, at night, along with my acne medication.
I'm in my second year of college. For the first time, I have talked to more than 3 girls per week. I have left my dorm room door open and allowed strangers to rumble in. Strangers that I can now call friends.
Living on my own (with 2 roommates).
I talked to this girl. Found out she had a boyfriend.
I talked to this girl. Found out she had a boyfriend.
I talked to this girl. Got her number. Found out she had boyfriend.
I got her number...
I GOT HER NUMBER???
Depression was counting the number of failed relationships because of my insecurities.
Depression was more than content to stay up with me at night...thinking.
Depression was the friend I never wanted.
Depression is watching as I carry its weight.
Depression is wondering why I don't stop as much anymore.
Depression is confused as to how I successfully approached that girl and introduced myself.
Depression is, and will always be, a part of me.
But Depression will never be me.
Depression is an Ugly Thing
#32642634 - 4 years ago
#32642636 - 4 years ago
I'm sorry about your experiences and that depression unfortunately seems to run in your family. However, congratulations on raising the courage to get therapy and talk to your doctor to eventually become more mentally healthy.
I can't write with quite the poignancy that you did (this is going to get unnecessarily lengthy), but I just wanted to reply to you saying that I've been depressed since 7th grade. I hated the fact that I was alive, that I was born, that I was such a failure at existing. And I was never quite sure why, since I was so young and should have been enjoying life. Depression didn't run in my family, and my peers seemed to be wearing glasses so rosy that they practically blinded me with their radiance. Some part of my brain just hated the rest of myself.
As I entered high school, my straight-A grades started slipping. I got my first B in 8th grade and first C in 9th grade. I know that doesn't sound earth-shattering, but as a daughter of very traditional Asian parents, it was a devastating blow. Luckily (or maybe unluckily), my parents weren't confrontational enough to talk to me about anything serious. They assumed that I was too lazy, and that I was tired all the time because I was eating less, instead of thinking that all my behaviors were symptoms of a singular problem. Their response was endless amounts of tutoring that did nothing for my grades.
At the start of 10th grade, I started fantasizing about suicide (sorry for the possible trigger (Warning!)). It sounded like the perfect solution to everything. I hate living? Just don't live anymore. It was like an even more convenient "Dr. Gavin's solution to the flu." I spent every waking moment daydreaming about all the ways I could off myself. My father had a gun hidden in the hallway closet, and I'd picture holding it to my head constantly. But as much as I wanted to do it, I just couldn't, because I was a coward and didn't want to experience more pain than I was already going through. And I, of course, hated myself for being so weak. Which caused me to want to kill myself. Which caused me to be a coward and chicken out. Which - you get the point; it was a vicious cycle.
Everything came to a head during my junior year of high school. I'd been suffering from depression for 4 years, and never spoke to anyone about it. I knew counselors and teachers and friends and parents were supposed to be able to help you, but I just couldn't push my burdens on anyone else. I was also afraid that people would dismiss my issues as being "teenage angst" and "just a phase." But during that year, I failed out of two classes, and that certainly brought people's attention. My parents were so disappointed in me (they never got angry within my sight but I knew they were furious), and I spent every single day crying alone and thinking - knowing - that I was a worthless piece of shit that didn't deserve the oxygen I consumed. While I did have a stable group of friends, I plastered a smile on my face and pretended that everything was okay and that I was fine with the fact that I'd made my bed and subsequently slept in it. Breaking down in front of my indifferent teacher was the most mortifying experience of my life. She stared dismissively at my tears and told me that she couldn't help me with my abhorrent grades because "it just seemed like I didn't care anymore." Of course I didn't care; I was a walking corpse. Why would school be important to someone already dead? Why should she help a useless, moronic, unimportant student like me?
I tried to tell my mother just once that something was wrong, but she simply informed me that I needed to eat healthier to be okay again (let me clarify her assumption by saying that, by that point, I was 30 lbs under normal weight and had dark circles deeper than the Grand Canyon). Needless to say, I never spoke to anyone about my emotions after that. I know it sounds cheesy, but really the only thing that managed to get a genuine smile from me was watching Rooster Teeth content. But this isn't about how grateful I am for them, since everyone else has a "they saved my life" story. This is about how I shoved myself through that grade, miserable and hoping for a car to smash into me or a meteor to bury me or an earthquake to swallow me up.
I never attempted suicide (sorry for the anti-climactic resolution), and I went easy on myself academically during senior year. I brought myself to a reasonable weight (110) and ended high school with a 4.3 GPA. And I'd love to think that I got over depression on my own, without any external help, just slogging through 180 days in the pure torture of junior year to come out the other end healthy. That isn't the case. School was still miserable. Even now, I'd still welcome death with open arms. I still can't picture myself with a happy future. I'm a freshman in university (the age on my profile is inaccurate) and have no clue what to do with myself. But I'm not actively in the deep pit that I was 1-2 years ago, so I'd like to say that I'm kind of okay now. While I don't have siblings, I have cousins that are amazingly successful and I can't bring my parents the shame of having a "defective child," so my only solution is self-help. I'd love to think that I have a better mindset than I did in high school, and I know that the mind-numbing low can reoccur eventually, but I'll have to deal with it when/if it happens. If you're still reading this, thank you for listening to my whining and terrible writing.
Tl;dr - I'm depressed and don't want help for it. It's been 6 years. I'll be okay. Hope you're okay.
Post edited 9/30/14 11:41PM
#32642637 - 4 years ago
Hey, thank you for replying. It seems that depression takes a lot of different forms and it takes a unique approach for each person to live with it.
I'd like to think that I'm okay and, maybe I really am. But what I've learned since living on campus at university is how much of myself I couldn't develop because of depression.
I have a stable enough mood now so that I can build an actual conversation with people who interest me, but I have yet to figure out what I can contribute.
Keep in mind, I am in no way trying to compare our two situations. You're the first person that I've ever really heard something back from about depression, so thank you again.
I think, in short, what I'm trying to get at is that depression cost a lot of growing for me. Sure, mentally and intellectually I may be mature, but socially? I might as well be a 15 year old tween asking a girl out for the first time.
Either I avoid socializing because its easier that way, or I have to throw myself into these scenarios so that I can make my best attempt at conversation.
It's something that I have to work on. A setback if anything, but I'm hoping to break through and catch up with the rest of my life.
I'm glad to hear that you're okay.
#32642638 - 4 years ago
Glad to hear that you are doing ok jk81624 and I am sorry to hear you are going through this as well FuzzyPanda95. But it is admirable that you have the courage, as jk said, to step out and express your situation and feelings. Props to you man. I know you are both not looking for "help" but I would be more than happy to be a good friend that you both can share a few laughs or stories with here on the site. I know y'all don't know me, but I always love making new friends and sometimes that is a start. If not, my thoughts go with you both every single day. And I look forward to possibly meeting you both in a few weeks in Austin! Go forth and conquer ye 535 haha.
#32642639 - 4 years ago
As weird as this may sound, I think it's a good thing that people are willing to talk about their dance with depression. Mental illness is not something that people should pretend that it doesn't exist. I also suffer from it. There are so many people who just do not understand what depression is and what it's capable of doing to a person. You aren't just "sad" and you can't just "cheer up." It affects your everyday life. It makes you feel at war with yourself. One part of your brain tells you that you aren't worth the time of living and another tells you that's a stupid thought. Then the warring with yourself makes you feel even more depressed or that you are slowly going crazy. Everyday, I put on my "happy" mask so people don't have to see the real me, so they don't have to know the pain I feel. Anyone who has ever suffered from depression knows how horrible it is and that no one should have to experience the dark feelings that are constantly floating around inside their head. I've suffered with depression for a really long time now. I've never sought help for it just because so many of the medications warn of "suicidal thoughts" as being a possible side effect. I have enough of those without medication making them worse. So for me, I find ways to deal with the pain. The one way I found that worked well for me was writing poetry. The simple idea of just writing down my feelings and thoughts on a piece of paper helped calmed me, which was really weird since I have a lot of dark, depressing poems. Kind of funny to think that writing something depressing makes me feel better.
I really do love this community. I've been so withdrawn from people. I don't like being around people. I don't like meeting new people, but I'm excited to go on this trip to Austin and meet people from this community. It's a pretty weird feeling for me, stepping out of my home and going on an adventure to a place I've never been and meeting people for the first time. Or maybe it's just the fact that I get to look at Alan Ritchson and some of my favorite Rooster Teeth guys?
#32932940 - 3 years ago
Hi Angel! Its been a long time since I've checked back in on this forum. I appreciate your response to the original post. I think its great that you've found an outlet that helps you feel better, however dark the content of your poetry may be. I actually have a long history of writing poetry as well! Especially potent during the really dark days of my depression.
So, thanks for sharing, I hope maybe to hear an update from you about what's going on in your life now? I know with all the new RT content out and how expansive the community is getting, its been a real comfort to me to feel a part of something this special :)