By Heather Donaldson
It will never fail to blow my mind when people say something like, “What do you have to be depressed about? You don’t have any real problems,” when they find out I’ve struggled with depression for a really long time.
What’s a real problem? Like, how do you define that? Because I think the fact that my brain chemicals don’t know what to do with themselves is a realproblem.
It’s probably more real than your shoe making a farting noise that you can’t recreate when everyone looks at you accusingly, making you want to “like, totally die.” For the record, in that scenario, depression is when you don’t even want to put effort into proving you’re innocent and instead just say, “Yeah. I farted. So what?”
Depression isn’t what you see in movies and on television. It’s not all self-deprecating comments in a monotonous voice, seething sarcasm, or sobbing under the covers in your bedroom for days at a time with the blinds drawn so tightly and strategically that it actually matches the way you feel inside.
In my experience, depression is the opposite of that. It’s different for everyone, because that’s life, but it’s never what you think it is to the person experiencing it.
Depression is being told you have a really pretty smile and great dimples, because you’ve become so accustomed to faking happiness. You’ve become so good at silencing your inner monologue of self-defeating thoughts with a perpetual smile so that maybe by the time you’ve smiled yourself into a migraine, you might start to feel a little more positive.
I never particularly do, but you’re right, I do have a really pretty smile and great dimples, and at least those few compliments I’ve received took my mind off of my self-doubt for at least a millisecond.
“I think anyone who’s perfectly happy isn’t particularly funny.” – Joan Rivers
Depression is being told you’re incredibly funny and witty. That you have a great sense of humor. Why? Because under no circumstances do you want to be seen as the person who brings everyone down. You’ve learned to make everyone laugh.
As a comedian, I’ve learned that the best comedy is derived from truth. Comedians, myself included, have learned to harness that relatability. I think you have to have a good sense of humor when you feel like your world is both on fire and being sucked into a black hole simultaneously. It’s not limited to just comedians, though. Laughter is the best medicine, even if it’s only for a little bit.
Depression is accepting everyone’s intentionally good advice, no matter how stupid it is, with grace. Try being happy? Why the hell didn’t I think of that before? Now that I know I can just be happy, the game has changed. You just need exercise! You just need to go kick rocks, guy. If exercise could single handedly fix me, I would Forrest Gump my way across the country for-ev-er.
Depression is never what you expect it to be. It’s doing really well on the outside, but feeling like a snail that just had salt poured on it by a sadistic 10 year old on the inside. It’s going to bed really early, not only because you’re mentally exhausted, but… Well, no, that’s exactly why.
It’s a new month, a new prescription to try out in your on-going mission to find the perfect dose and all the side effects that go along with it.
Do you know what depression isn’t, though? Easy. It’s a constant battle, but it’s not the boss of you.