Depression hurts. You've probably heard that phrase, it's the “jingle” for one of the major anti-depressants out there. My depression started with my chronic pain. It now continues with chronic medical issues.
Do you know what depression feels like, besides pain? Let me try to explain to you. Try. It's my theory that if you've never had it, you can never fully understand it.
Depression is like being dressed in chain mail, that's so heavy it's hard to move. It's trying to see through dirty windows. It's small tasks taking on insurmountable numbers of steps. It's the inertia of “I'll just stay right here, it's too hard to do anything else.”
Yesterday I had two more procedures, and my body feels like it's a dish rag that has been wrung dry, run over repeatedly by a truck, threaded through with the drying line, and is flapping in the wind, with no control over what happens next. Is some kid going to throw a rock at it? Will the squirrels come chew on it? Is someone going to yank it down, throw it in the washing machine to drown?
I have a lot of tasks with actual deadlines (we're not talking working on my book which went on the back burner a week ago and is now off the stove and put away). I need to get things ready for an important party. I need to do laundry, because almost everyone is out of clothes (and don't say have my boys do it, there was a third Saturday night trip to the ER and OYT is now one handed with a bad hand sprain.)
We need groceries, which I will have delivered, but let's break that down into all the steps that paralyze a depressed person.
- find website
- find weekly newspaper ad from store
- navigate website
- use weekly ad to choose items that are on sale and family might eat for dinner
- add/remove items to stay within budget
- arrange deliver time
- be dressed enough with hair combed enough not to frighten driver
- put away groceries
Non-depressed people say helpful things like:
“Cheer up! It's all going to be fine.”
“Pray. God is bigger than this. He'll help you out of this.”
“You shouldn't be depressed, look at all your blessings!”
“Being depressed is not the Christian way to behave. We have Jesus, we're going to heaven, all this earth stuff is nothing.”
“You're being selfish. You don't get to lay in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and do something.”
And my favorite, “I know just how you feel. I get sad sometimes too, but it passes. You'll feel better soon.”
Well, there are these these brain chemicals that let the nerve cells (neurons) communicate with one another, sending correct messages all over your brain. They are called serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When they get depleted from stress, pain, disease or other factors (use wiki “depression” for good info), they can't communicate effectively, and sometimes send the wrong signal, or no signal at all. This disorder has been compared to diabetes where there isn't enough insulin produced, another chemical inbalance.
Would you walk up to a diabetic and tell them to get over it? That if they just prayed more they'd get better? That they shouldn't be diabetic because they are so blessed? I don't think you would.
Please have patience with us depressed people. We are trying. We'd love nothing more than to be normal. We want to enjoy what we used to enjoy. We want not to hurt. Meanwhile, we're wearing chain mail, can't see through the dirty windows, and hurt all over. Give us a break, a gentle hug. And some slack...
P.S You're probably wondering what they did to me yesterday to bring on this dump of personal info. Colonoscopy and endoscopy. Waiting for results of multiple biopsies. Thanks for listening.