I have struggled with depression off and on for most of my life. Sometimes it’s worse than others but more people need to talk about what ails them so that healthy people can better appreciate what we’re going through.
Regular people don’t understand how much this illness does to people. It’s more than just a ‘bad day.’ It robs you of the ability to feel joy. It saps your energy and puts such a spin on your mental state that you’re not in total control anymore. Because it’s such a personal feeling and experience, it is a very isolating illness.
Depression is isolating not only because of how it makes you feel but how it makes the people around you feel.
A lot of people don’t want to get that close. They know you have a problem but if they acknowledge it, they might have to deal with it. They don’t want to know what you’re dealing with.
If you try to tell the wrong person, you figure it out pretty quickly because they shut you down. They deny what you’re trying to tell them, dismiss it, minimize it. They jump through a lot of socially acceptable hoops to ensure this doesn’t become something they have to deal with. They want no responsibility for your mental health.
Of the few who don’t happily leap toward denial, you have to decide how much you let them see. What can they handle? What can you count on them for? Did you make a mistake picking them?
Getting support from people who can’t see the depth of your struggle often makes it worse. They offer suggestions but they’re the suggestions of people who don’t understand the bad days can last for weeks at a time. Positive words and kitten videos don’t cut it when you’re contemplating what’s tying you to this earth. How do you explain to someone their off bad day is sometimes the best you can hope for?
What happens if you let someone see how deep the rabbit hole goes and they can’t or won’t deal with it?
They’ve never ‘casually’ contemplated suicide. Which method hurts less? Which has the easiest cleanup? How do you make sure you’re found? Ridiculous reasons to ignore the urges like a new movie, unread book, or upcoming holiday. How can you make them understand?
They can’t handle your negativity in their life. They don’t believe you really want to get better. They get sick of the impotence of being unable to help. Worst of all? Some just don’t care.
Rather than risk adding all of this to your burden, you keep it to yourself. You get burned by the uninitiated enough times, you eventually stop asking for their help. Why ruin a relationship by giving that person the chance to do something you won’t be able to forgive or forget?
You already feel alone in your experiences. Sometimes it’s easier to try to bear it alone than feel abandoned by your supports.