Saturday, November 11, 2017

Depression lies.
It whispers insidious lies in your ear, tries to plant them in our heart.  It takes a grain of truth and fabricates a dark and dreary shadowland, trying to convince you that this darkness is reality.  It's constant drone essentially gaslights you into believing the lies.
So that when you do reach out, and ask for help, Others, the ones you turn to for a lifeline, withdraw.  Their reality is so different from your own that they don't know how to react and offer a platitude in response like "Oh, it's not that bad" when you can plainly see that the world is ending.

Depression sucks.
It sucks the air from your lungs, the joy from your heart, the color from your world.  It drains your energy, your dreams, and your hope.  It uses the aforementioned lies to coerce and compel, keeping you isolated from the rest of the world whether physically or emotionally.  Because who wants to risk subjecting others to this?

Depression lies...again.
It simply lies there, blanketing your heart, somehow secretly growing to shadow more of your life until you can't find where it started or where the exit might be.  And as it lies there lying to you, telling you that there is nothing but sadness and sorrow and there never has been anything but depression, it's hard to overcome.

Depression isn't just a disease that can be cured by popping a few pills or even just a better diet and exercise.  It's an insidious shadow that infiltrates your life and your home, tainting everyone you meet.

The worst part?
Depression is contagious.  If you care for someone who suffers from depression for long enough, their worldview colors (or rather, uncolors) part of your own.  You see shadows where there once was color, you feel dread where once there was joy, and sadness seems to permeate every corner of the room.
And it's not something people understand.  I repeatedly hear people remark that their therapist doesn't get it.
The person they pay hard earned money to (very hard earned if they are struggling to hold a job due to the tenacious grip of this condition), the person who is trained and certificated specifically to help people who are struggling heal...Doesn't Get It.

They just don't get it less than the rest of the world doesn't get it.  Or they're trained, and the world says they are supposed to help so the patient keeps going, assuming that the problem is them and not the help they've found.

Depression is lonely.  It's hard for anyone who suffers, and it's hard for those around them.  Because how do you live in a reality that isn't your own?  But how can you leave someone you love to brave it alone? 

Having a friend with chronic pain or illness is hard.
It's a challenge to hear and understand a reality that's so far removed from your own you can't recognize it.  And it's easy to misinterpret cancelled plans.  Whether they turn you down  a few times in a row, or cancel at the last minute, it's only logical to assume that one should "take the hint" and stop asking.  Most people never learn that the realization that you are no longer asking can trigger a spiral of depression.
It's not just that they cancelled.  Or even that they cancelled again.  It's the fact that they didn't call until the last minute.  They obviously aren't prioritizing you.  That's okay.  Whatever.  You have a life and other friends.  You don't see the cost that cancelling really had on them.  You have no idea what sort of energy saving practices they may have put into place to make this outing work, to save their energy so it wouldn't run out on you.  But somehow it ran out anyways.
You won't see them curse their bodies, or kick the wall.  You won't want to envision them lying at home, with a heating pad or a mug of tea and some saltines.  The reality is just too uncomfortable.  So you do the easy forgive them for letting you down and you go out and have a good time anyways.  And you stop calling, because isn't that what they want?
Having a friend with chronic pain is hard. 
Just don't forget that living with chronic pain is just as hard, if not harder (whether you're the sufferer or just a family member)

This thanksgiving season I'm grateful for all of those who accept what doesn't make sense and haven't given up on us.  I'm grateful for all of those who come in and out of our lives, believe it or not, you make our lives richer.  Even if we don't spend every waking moment together.  Or even the third saturday of each month.

I'm grateful for those who understand food allergies, or work with anxiety and depression, or just maintain flexibility without understanding the why and how.
And I'm grateful for those who don't...the ones who help remind me what reality is supposed to look like without being confrontational about it.

As much as I wish we could be "normal", I'm aware there is no such state of being.  We are who we are, our limits are what they are, and the only thing we can control is our reactions.