I’ll admit it. I’ve always had trouble understanding depression. Like real depression that cuts deep and is someone’s life. Yes, I’ve been depressed before and sometimes I am feeling down for longer than I should be and when I know there is no real reason to be feeling such a way. And it feels horrible and I act irrational and refuse to believe the good. But I know it’s temporary and I know what’s going and I know I’ll get through it . . . I always do.
But for some people it’s much more than that. Some people can’t just get over it and move on. Some people can’t see the blue skies ahead. And while it makes me sad, very sad, it’s also very frustrating. Which isn’t always fair.
I can’t really explain what it feels like to have to stop a friend from actually physically hurting themselves. I can explain what it feels like to want to people to stop a friend from hurting themselves, but not how the actually process feels. It’s surreal. Seeing someone you thought you knew so well in so much despair and lashing out like a caged animal. And then watching them repeat this over and over. And how horrible it feels that nothing helps.
I remember when I was in middle school depression was fashionable. That sounds so horrible to say, but it’s true. It was the aftermath of Kurt Cobain’s suicide–we all wanted to be so tragic. We’d be lucky to be so tragic. And so we acted like we didn’t care and bragged of scars and of suicidal thoughts. I remember trying to make it look like I’d wanted to hurt myself just to “be cool.” I remember longing to want to jump from a roof and wondering if people would believe me if I told them I’d try. But the fact was: I was not depressed. I was just a normal, awkward middle-schooler wanting to fit in.
I didn’t realize how lucky I was.
I didn’t realize that there are many, many people longing to be normal–happy–as I was wishing to be sad. That some of those kids weren’t doing it to be fashionable–they were doing it because they had no choice. And I was jealous of them?!
Thankfully, I broke through that phase and found pleasure in . . . well, in being happy. In experiencing the normal ebb and flow of emotion. In being able to feel anything at all.
Yes, I am lucky to not struggle personally with depression. And this is not bragging. This is a confession. Sometimes, I don’t know what to do with other’s sadness. I want to understand, but sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes you don’t know the right words. And sometimes someone will just pull away from you for no reason. And you won’t understand it. And chances are they won’t either.
It’s just people. We are a bunch of weirdos. Can we really expect anyone to understand anyone?
I’ll continue to try, and I’ll do my best not to get frustrated. And I’ll do what I can to help, even if that means nothing at all.
(And, if I’m being honest here, it’s really my highs that scare me more than my lows.)