A Lifestyle Choice? (Depression for Dummies.)
It’s not that I don’t like my life. I do.
‘Good morning Starbucks, yes I am fine, are you?’
I know I am very lucky.
I know from the outside looking in it would seem that I have nothing to be unhappy about, nothing at all.
I know I’m very lucky to have a beautiful healthy baby boy… who, ok is approaching two and has therefor developed a fondness for throwing trains at my face when I wont give him pizza and ice pops for breakfast, but that’s normal right? That’s kids! I should laugh about it. And I do.
I know I have a lovely flat… and ok it is too small and we have no room and of course I would love it to sell so we could move, but that’s understandable and nothing to stress about is it? That’s life. I should be grateful I am not homeless. And I am.
And yes I know both my parents are still alive and healthy and supportive in ways I would never have thought possible… and ok, they are a bit crackers, but whose parents aren’t right? You should be thanking your lucky stars you still have them. And I do.
And to top all this luckiness off I have the support of a sexy bearded man with a nice accent… and ok, sometimes I want to garrote him with my dressing gown belt because he seems incapable of finishing off the washing up, or for that matter, throwing away the used loo roll (!!!! The bin is right there!!!!), but that’s just a man thing isn’t it? I should be grateful he has stuck by me. I should thank my lucky stars. And sometimes, during moments of clarity, I do.
‘Grande, Extra shot, skinny dry cappuccino please… Yes he is nursery. No, no flavor today thanks.’
I know that I should be happy and living life to the full, not wishing my days away.
I know I should try harder to concentrate on enjoying the here and now.
I know life is passing me by and I should be relishing every moment.
I know I need to realise I am lucky.
I know this.
I know you think I JUST need to do all these things and I would be ‘better’.
I know you think I am selfish.
I feel selfish.
‘Yes it was lovely thanks. We went to Ireland. Lots of family and he loved his presents yes. Did you have a good one?’
And I also know you have tried and tried and tried, but you just can’t seem to grasp why I can’t just pull myself together, or why can’t I just smile more? Or why am I unable to just give my head a wobble and see how lucky I am.
I can see in your eyes that you think you have the answers, that you think I am choosing to ignore you. I know when you hug me you think I am weak and I am pathetic, that I have issues, that I am dramatic and need constant attention.
I know you think living like this is a choice I am making.
The illness I am suffering from is not a choice though.
And it is that illusion, that perfectionist, simple view, which is damaging.
All of us.
Who would choose to wake up every morning and want it to be bedtime? Just so they didn’t have to pretend to be happy. Just so they didn’t have to smile and play and swallow down the tears repeatedly every time they could see how many moments they were choosing to miss out on, unable to grasp hold of, unable to get back.
Who would choose to lie in bed all night crying silent tears of frustration? Just because they have lost control of their own minds, just because they are being tortured over and over by demons so cunning and sly, so ferocious and cruel, that they can’t reach out, they are isolated, no matter how many battles they choose to courageously fight in the hope it will stop.
Who would choose to feel nothing? Who would choose to become so numb that human touch evaporates before it even breaks the surface? Who would choose isolation in a room bursting with family and caring faces?
Who would choose to experience only tiny moments of clarity? Who would choose to find natural laughter over something insignificant, so momentous that they remember back to it days later and wish they could experience it again? Be normal.
Who would choose to walk a lonely path in the darkness when there is light surrounding them?
Who would choose to die, over living?
‘Oh how lovely. That must have been wonderful. I am glad your sister enjoyed it. Ok, well I am just going over by the window. Thanks again, have a good day.’
Who would choose to live with a hidden affliction, a disease, an overpowering sickness that nobody could see, that was incredibly misunderstood and was often treated with flamboyant disregard?
Nobody would choose this.
Depression is an illness. Not a choice.
Treat those fighting it, and the illness itself with the respect it deserves.
End the stigma.