All of a sudden I found myself unwilling to leave the house for more than absolutely necessary errands. I wanted no part of being social. No thrifting trips. No flea market. No farmer’s markets, record hunting adventures, no phone calls. It’s not completely unusual for me to avoid huge social events since I’m extremely introverted, but I stopped doing the things I loved most. Even the thought of trying to navigate through boxes of old, dusty records looking for hidden treasures of 180g classic rock albums for $2 seemed daunting, exhausting, impossible.
That’s when it became obvious that I had let life get me down.
I’m not saying we’re all individually responsible in some way for the circus acts our brains often put us through. Mental illness is a real problem and it often hits people in uncontrollable ways. You can’t really hold the driver responsible if their car were to run into a restaurant due to a complete malfunction in the system or severed brake lines. But, I know the signs of depression pretty well. It’s not a new thing for me, and given the years I’ve spent in grad school studying counseling, I better know. It’s my lifeblood, my passion. So, when I finally had my epiphany and noticed the things that were going on with me and had been going on for some time, I knew it was true—I let the things I’m going through get to me. I wasn’t paying attention to the signs—something that I have to be able to do to prevent getting burned out in my profession.
I also knew, however, that I was not going to let it continue.
I took to Facebook to vent a little about it with friends. I knew that plenty of people on my friends list had their own battles with depression or other mood disorders and would likely be supportive. The first step in tackling my problem was admitting it, and Facebook was a great place to publicly get started. It was like saying, “hey, I’ve got some shit going on but now I recognize it and saying so publicly means I have to work on it.”
It didn’t really work out that way though.
I was told to go outside, to take walks, and that it was all in my head as if, somehow, I wasn’t already getting outside despite having 4 ducks, 5 dogs, 5 cats, and other animals to take care of not to mention a child and other various responsibilities….as if a breath of fresh air can magically make my money problems, unemployment issues, and everything else just go away never to bother me again. It was a bit disheartening to see how quickly people want to dismiss what you’re going through, make assumptions, and tell you what you *should* be doing instead of just giving you a supportive thumbs up or virtual hug.
I let that get to me, too, and argued and advocated for better understanding of what people go through during a depressive episode. I linked to articles of exactly what NOT to say to a friend going through what I was going through—the exact things these friends were saying, and I let it bother me when people claimed to think I was stronger than that…as if even the strongest people aren’t allowed a moment of need. What I should have immediately done was excise those cancerous moles from my existence before their black centers spread outward over me like a dark shroud of people-dread. What's the point of having friends if they're just going to be dickholes?
I’m feeling better for a myriad of reasons that didn’t involve going on brisk walks every morning, and it’s something I will continue to try to work on until I reach 100%.
When life hands you lemons and you’ve forgotten the recipe for making lemonade, don’t fucking let your friends try to tell you that you have to stuff the lemons in a forgotten drawer and get outside more or to pretend the lemons never existed or that you’re lemons aren’t as sour as everyone else’s. The only thing any real friend should say to you is, “hey, need a hand squeezing those lemons?”
Otherwise, fuck ‘em.
This has been another awesome Sunday Confession with More than Cheese and Beer. Go check out her own post and the posts of all the other bloggers who joined.