Understanding and Coping with Depression

These days, the word “depressed” has become synonymous with words like “sad,” or “bummed out.”  If you’re shopping for a pair of pants, say, and they don’t have your size, saying you’re “super depressed!” about it just isn’t accurate, and is in fact making light of a diagnosis that is big and scary, and much more prevalent than most people understand or are willing to admit.  If your “depression” over a pair of pants can be solved by traipsing to another store and finding another pair, then you were probably just “bummed out” about it.

Depression isn’t just feeling sad, either, though most people like to categorize it that simply.  Depression is about being sad, yes, but it’s also about loneliness, and isolation.  It’s about knowing you should get up and do something, but feeling completely immobile and helpless.  It’s heavy.  Sometimes it feels as if it’s suffocating you, and that the weight of it pulls you down so often and so painfully that sometimes you wonder if you can ever get back up again; if you will ever be able to see light, or to feel light again.

You wonder what is wrong with you.  You wonder what awful thing you may have done to bring this upon you.  You may feel embarrassed that you feel this way, and hide it from those who could help you most – family, friends, or a significant other.

If you feel this way, here is what you should know:

Know that you are not alone, and that nothing is wrong with you.  Know that you are Good and Brave and Strong, and that there is hope.  There is always hope.

Know that this depression you are feeling is not something that happened to you because you did something wrong, or were bad.  Depression can be caused by the chemicals in your body and brain; something completely out of your control, or it can be caused by environmental factors, often of which are also out of your control.

Know that there is help.  There is medication, there is psychotherapy.  There is simply help in using your voice and talking to someone – a loved one, about how you feel.  Depression isn’t so suffocating and heavy when you use your voice, and ask for help.  Often the silence that depression imposes upon you is so isolating, that the loneliness becomes unbearable.

Know that even though depression can make everything seem dark, and like things will never be okay again, please know that there is always hope, always light, waiting for you.  Depression is scary, and it’s very difficult to manage.  BUT it is manageable, and having a diagnosis of depression doesn’t mean that life won’t ever be full of beauty and light and fun and joy.  There are always room for beautiful things in this world.  Whether you have depression or you don’t; it doesn’t matter – beauty can happen in your world if you choose to seek it and cultivate it.

Depression cannot take that away from you; not if you don’t let it.

Don’t let it.
Fight it.
Fight for yourself.
Cultivate beauty.
Have joy.

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