Just imagine feeling a flood of emotions, yet having no direct understanding of those emotions, all at the same time. Laying in bed at night feeling sad about the things that were anxiously made up in your mind, but you can’t seem to shake the thought of something being seriously wrong. Having no motivation to get out of bed in the morning, but having an anxiety attack knowing that you’ll be missing important things throughout the day.
Now imagine having the courage to tell someone these feelings, looking for a little comfort and trying to find someone who will understand and all they say is “you have no reason to feel like that, you need to try to get over it.”
Coming from someone who has suffered from both, and speaking for everyone who has had either, we wish it was that easy. We WISH we could simply just “get over it”. We get it, you think that showing a little tough love will help get a little desire and motivation in them to help get them over this “funk” they might be in. But, the truth is, depression isn’t something you just get through over night. It takes time…for some it takes months, for others is takes years, and it could even last a lifetime for some people. The reality of it is that people with these mental illnesses have to learn how to live with their disorders, rather than “get over it”, and it’s okay that you might not understand that, honestly we hope that you never have to understand it, but please be patient with those who do.
My all time “favorite” thing someone has said to me after I explain to them that I have depression and anxiety is “you don’t think I am sad, too, sometimes?” or “there are other people who have it far worse than you.” Well, sure, I know you get sad, too, and yes, I know a lot of other people have it far worse than me, but by telling me that it is not okay to be sad because other people have it worse is like telling me that I can’t be happy because other people have it better. It’s not a fair thing to say to someone, especially someone who suffers from depression because depression isn’t about being sad necessarily.
Unless you’ve experienced first hand what depression and anxiety feel like, there is no way to understand it. It’s not an emotion that you get when you watch the heart-wrenching parts of The Notebook, and it’s not easily fixed by someone telling you that they love you. People often make the mistake of thinking that these feelings just turn off and on. If you could simply choose to be happy whenever you wanted to be, we would all be walking around with smiles on our faces a lot more, and I think one of the biggest issues of raising awareness of these mental illnesses is that people think of depression and anxiety as something you see in the movies. You get sad, you get happy, you move on. But it just doesn’t work like that…
Considering that it is 2016, and nearly 350 million people suffer from depression and anxiety, you would think mental illnesses would be taken more seriously. My hope from this blog is to raise awareness. In order to truly care for and help someone who is suffering from depression and anxiety, you have to be educated about it. Do your research, learn about it. You’ll never fully understand it unless you go through it, but letting someone know that they aren’t going through it alone makes all the difference in the world.
"We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain." - Alan Watts