Just Because I’m Depressed Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Happy

Writing has always been a way that I’ve clarified my thoughts so that’s what I’m doing here. I’m sure I’ll write more on this topic later, but this is a first effort. It won’t be complete–and the thoughts as they go through my head are still working themselves out, but it’s a place to start…

And, this isn’t an easy thing for me to say to all of you, to put out there on the Internet and all, but I’ll just go ahead and say it. I suffer from depression and, though I never really knew it, have been for a long time. I’ve been exhibiting a lot of the signs of it for a while though, and, if you know anything about it, it’s one of those things where sometimes the symptoms don’t seem to connect to any sort of diagnosis. At least they didn’t for me. And unfortunately the visible symptoms are often obnoxious to others: extra drinks you don’t really need (or particularly want), not getting things done that you need to, masking emotions, a desperate need to please (despite failing to please in important ways). Believe me, the list was endless.

In a lot of ways, people with depression envy those who have some physical malady. People who have a physical illness have all sorts of people around them sympathizing and empathizing with their plight. But if your depression is bringing others down and if it isn’t clear what the real problem is, you find yourself losing friends, family, everyone in a way. It’s tough having an illness that manifests itself in the poor choices you make (or the good choices you don’t make) because everyone knows that you should be able to control the choices you make.

When I was in grad school for special education I remember one professor talking about how students with emotional issues were experts at getting you to feel about them the same way they felt about life—if they made you angry, you could bet they were angry; if you had given up on them and didn’t care what happened to them any more, you knew that was their outlook too. The same is true with people who suffer from depression.

Back in December I finally realized that there was something wrong with me that was bigger than just being unhappy, bigger than just being unmotivated, so I entered into therapy. And that is going well. I wish I had done it sooner. If I had perhaps my life would be different today. But who knows.

Well, there it is. That’s how I got to be where I am today. And I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t blame any of the several people who have felt the need to push me away. I deserved it. I wish I knew what was wrong sooner, but I can’t change that. And I also have to say that I wouldn’t be where I am right now—a better and fuller and more aware person—if it hadn’t been for some drastic changes that happened in my life.

And, so I can just say, I’m happy where I am today. I’m getting help where I need it most. And I’ve found a cadre of friends who have supported me over the last couple of months. And I’ve also realized that there are people who have against all odds supported me and encouraged me to seek help despite the way my depression has hurt them over the years. And that counts for something.

And so now I’m single for the first significant length of time in like fourteen years. I’m still getting used to all that that involves, but I’m enjoying the feeling of autonomy, for now at least. So anyway, here that’s me right now.

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One Response to “Just Because I’m Depressed Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Happy”

  1. I’m Just Whining « No Setback Will Set Me Back! Says:

    […] if you’re a longtime reader you may recall that I brought up the issue of depression a long time ago. I hadn’t mentioned it since because, for months, I was doing great. Coping […]

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