It can grip you in a way that is difficult to explain unless one has experienced it. It is so painful that every part of you may agonize. The pain, oh my God, the pain
Scarred Joy posts do not shy away from painful experiences. This includes personal experiences. Pain reminds me of my own humanity, vulnerability and that my emotions are part of me.
I began this post referring to “it.” The “it” I want to present in this post is known as depression.
This post is not meant as a clinical explanation of causes or symptoms of depression etc. The post relates to how people, including myself, have experienced this illness. This post will note some things common in depression. The post will also present an idea of what experiencing depression is like. I will include a Scarred Joy point of hope. I am not offering an exhaustive explanation of depression.
I would like every person who will read this post and has lived depression to know one thing. I am one of you. We are bonded together. For that reason I will write this post in first person.
- Like a tunnel
- Dark even in the light
- Messed up.
- Day in and day out
- For some it is fleeting and temporary, triggered by events in life
- Avoiding conversations
- If I can sleep I wake up tired
- Depression makes my body, mind and soul feel tired.
- Not wanting to end my life yet perceiving it as being without meaning.
- Living in a tunnel and not seeing any light ahead
- Wanting to go anywhere else but to work
- Being with people yet lonely.
- God is distant
- God has left me
- I let everyone down.
- Acting as if life is great in order to hide from other people so they don’t know my truth.
- Feeling dead inside
- Being embarrassed or ashamed to let anyone know I am depressed
- My smiles are a mask to hide my pain
- Day to day living is tedious
- Evenings are long and exhausting
- Wanting to scream yet afraid other people will then know I am in pain.
- Depression can be creative
- It longs for companionship of loving people.
- Depression mixes me up.
In depression I may watch the world go by. It may seem I am the only one trapped in this tunnel. I may add to my suffering by being petrified people will find out I’m in a depression.
I mean, it’s considered a mental illness, isn’t it? People will treat me different if they find out I have a mental illness. They may look at me and talk to me as if I am to be pitied. They may look beyond me, so to speak and focus on the illness. If people do that then I have no hope.
Even in my depression I have to somehow survive, right? I have to find the strength to move forward and not lie down and give up. That would be so easy to do. Allow the dark blanket of the tunnel to envelope me. To give up.
I want to survive the tunnel. To feel the warmth of the sun again. To embrace those who love and care for me. To reach out to those I think I can trust and let them know I need help. To know God remembers me. To recognize who I am.
I can’t survive depression by myself. I need those who care for me to come alongside me. Even if it seems I’m not paying attention to you, please don’t give up on me. Help me survive. I can’t do this on my own.
If any of you can feel my words as you read them, you understand. You know, I am one of you.
Please think the post through then comment.
8 thoughts on “I Am One Of You!”
I relate to this on so many levels. I am with you, though we feel alone, we have many who care for us and we have to force ourselves from isolation.
You are right Sandy. I could have included that great point in the post. I try to keep my posts to around 600 words. That why from time to time I post a first, second, third part etc. in some posts. Thank you for the great comment.
In my temporry depression since Dad died less than one week ago, I can certainly agree with many of your points Alan. Perhaps my depression is not depression … more like a deep sadness and void. People over the past days have been saying, it will get better. And I am sure it will. Time will tell. Right now in my sadness, I have no desire to do what I usually do – activities of daily living, meeting deadlines, socializing.
Instead I am dealing with a myriad of emotions and no one can really do that for me as I do that. But there are ways to help. They can be there. They can verbalize their caring. They can send encouraging words via email, a phone call, a message on Facebook. I love words – they are balm to my soul. Helping in in tangible ways has been such a blessing to us. They can be silent. Touch my back. Hold my hand. Smile and hug me close as the tears fall. They can listen. And that has been happening. For which I am so very grateful.
My point is whether a temporary depression or a life-filled chemical depression, there are things people can do to help. But I think it is important for those who are depressed to do as you are doing, Alan. Speakin up. Talk about it. Describe the pain. Point out the terror of depression. Then people who care can get on the job. Understanding something is the first step in helping. Thanks for having this conversation, Alan. It’s an important one.
Hello my friend! Thank you for your comments. I’m wondering if your particular situation may be more grief than depression. You miss your dad since he died. The things you describe really sound like grief and that is understandable since your dad’s passing is so recent. I really appreciate how honest you are with your experience right now. I hope also that what you are experiencing is temporary. You can then move forward with your life. I’m trust you have many good memories of your dad. You are right about talking about our situation whether it be grief or depression. Thank you for taking time to comment with your insights. I especially than you for doing this even with your grief being so recent. Take care for now.
Depression is often a spiral for me in which I can’t always tell if I am spiralling up or down. Or I may spiral up one day and then down the next. I honestly don’t even know anymore if there is a complete way out of the spiral; maybe I will always be in it and can just try to be spiralling up? I relate to many of the things you listed on this list. I’m tired of talking to people about depression who don’t understand and so I have gotten quieter about it. But I do still believe that if one can find a way to talk about it that they feel comfortable with (or comfortable enough) then it is important to do it. I just don’t know what that is for me right now. I had a sister die from suicide due to chronic depression brought on by childhood trauma. That is a trauma in itself; to have a loved one die by suicide that I don’t think (it’s been 14 years) there is fully an end to; part of the spiral I suppose. I hope I don’t sound too depressed LOL. I’m doing ok in my own way. We all know what ok is for us, even if we wish it was better. Maybe someday. And I agree….the stigma of speaking up is still so great. Is it ok if I say that sucks? Because it does. How is it that I can lose my sister to depression and face that darkness and survive childhood trauma, yet even speaking of my own depression makes me weak?
Hi Gloria! I always appreciate and love your honesty and genuineness in how you write. Speaking about our depression is not a sign of weakness. It is a strength from within us, a moving forward, if you will. Perhaps a moving forward in an effort to regain our way fully out of the tunnel. If you are like me you approach speaking about depression carefully. I have to sense that I trust a person or even a group before sharing such a sensitive part of me. It is also a moving forward that those who have never been in a depression don’t understand or resonate with, therefore the stigma people put on it still exists. Yes, this does suck! It is wonderful, however, you sre doing ok as you say, “in my own way.”
Thank you for naming your pain as you mentioned your dear sister’s death by suicide. May her memory be eternal. She must have suffered so much. I believe you are right in your assessment of never being trully free from such a traumatic and family changing tragedy. Lord Have mercy.
I sincerely thank you for your thoughtful comments Gloria.
Thank you for opening up this conversation and for sharing your thoughts and experiences Alan. What stands out to me the most is your point about the longing for companionship of loving people. Sometimes, I worry I will only be a bother to someone who is feeling very low, or that I will do or say the wrong thing. But what I gather from your post here is that small expressions of genuine love and concern can and will make a difference!
Hi Lisa. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m a big believer in the gift of our presence as we come alongside people. What I have learned from people who are hurting is by being there the depressed person may begin to see light through the tunnel. I find it interesting you mention you “worry” you might be a “bother” to the person. Our worry etc. can be a barrier to our love for the person. This tells us something about ourselves. It may mean you are afraid of bringing further hurt to the one who is depressed. You can turn this worry around by putting your love into action by bringing your presence to the person. As Christians we bring the love of God and this love doesn’t always have to say anything. It is a calming presence. Yes, it can be small acts of love like sitting with the person or a hug conveying you are there. You may become part of the depressed person’s journey out of the tunnel. This is what our love in action can do. Bless you Lisa.
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