I've had a pretty complicated relationship with life lately. Just when I think things are starting to go right, it likes to drop its pants and take a huge dump all over the place. Safe to say this had put me in a bit of a funk these past few months. Just when I think that I have one metaphorical shit-pile cleaned up, another one decides to form right next to it. I tell people this all the time; I have my good days and I have my bad days. Just like everyone else. But with me, the bad days hit particularly hard. I always say that I'm depressed enough to function. I acknowledge the things that make my life awesome and I'm grateful for them. I lack a formal diagnosis and I've never been on medication, but I know that I'm not as okay as I should be.
One of my best friends is in basically the same situation as me right now. The only thing that makes us different is that she's a bit more far gone than me. I don't say this to try and demean her, but even she knows that she's a bit more sad than me. And I'm putting it lightly when I say that she's acted upon her feelings. Since a good chunk of my time is spent worrying about her, I do a ton of thinking. Her and I have been through almost the same things in life, I just don't have the scars to prove it. I have never thought of self-harm and I have never attempted suicide, and I don't ever plan on it. But just because I've never been hospitalized for my problems doesn't mean that those problems aren't there.
In no way am I saying that what I feel is in any way more important than what my friend feels. I guess what I'm trying to say is that society has kind of a warped way of dealing with anxiety and depression. If someone says that they're depressed, that they're genuinely not okay and feel like they need help, they're thrown by the wayside and scolded for being too dramatic. But the moment someone actually makes an attempt on their life, we spend all of our time wondering just what we could have done to help them. People miraculously become friends and caregivers, after the fact. But even then, there are still the people who like to say that it was all done for attention. No matter what way you look at it, society just won't let you win.
You shouldn't have to be on the brink of suicide for your sadness to be legitimized. We need to worry about people who say they're depressed just as much as the people who have already had treatment for it. Just because they lack a formal diagnosis doesn't mean that they lack a real problem. I think that the real kicker with depression is that it's not a public thing. So many more people go through it than we think, because it doesn't give you sores or blisters or things that you can see. Its all in your head, and not everyone will go and get that help to have their feelings labeled officially. Having proof of our feelings makes them more real, and I get that. We fear the things that we don't understand. But it shouldn't take a licensed professional to understand that everyone has scary thoughts sometimes.
My friend has been hospitalized for her problems a few times, and I really think that makes her stronger than me. She's dealt with her fears head-on, gotten help, and come out the other side. I haven't. And I think that some of the saddest people in the world are the ones who are too scared to admit how sad they really are. When the sadness is deep enough, you know. It hits you hard, and it takes a whole lot of courage to put your pride aside and get help. And a part of me will always admire my friend for being able to do that. Depression and anxiety are so stigmatized today because society has such a hard time understanding such private things. But the mind is something that should be cared for just like the rest of the body. Some people don't see it that way, so they go through life thinking their feelings aren't valid because they don't have any scars or medication to show for it.
I've had this problem for awhile now. I have this tendency to hold my feelings as secondary to someone like my friend's, because a therapist has never told me that they were valid. So I put all this thought into caring for others that - when it comes time to care for myself - I have no idea where the hell to start. And don't get me wrong, helping others is a truly beautiful thing, but there has to be a line somewhere. Above all, nothing is worth more than your own sanity. I forget that sometimes. Lately, I've put my happiness on the back of a person who keeps running farther and farther away from me. I spend so much time worrying about him, my friends, my job; I genuinely do not know the first thing about what it's like to worry about myself.
There's nothing like having someone take the time to tell you that you're not alone in what you feel. It turns anxiety and depression into something so much less scary, because it forces everything out into the open. But we know ourselves better than anyone in the world, even if we don't see it that way. If you're sad, you're not "just being dramatic" and if you're self-harming you're not "just doing it for attention." All problems are valid, no matter how small they may seem. We shouldn't need doctors to tell us that. Because everyone deals with shit behind closed doors. Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.