Monday, July 28, 2014

IRL: Being Depressed is Lame

I know I am depressed.  Surprisingly, that's not the problem.  The problem is that I keep getting told that I am not allowed to be depressed because my life is so awesome which is really unfair.  Way to completely invalidate my feelings, what I am going through, etc... because you don't immediately understand what could possibly be wrong with me or my life.

I have battled with depression for most of my life.  Yes, sometimes it has external triggers, but generally it is something that I cycle through because of chemicals in my brain.  If it's just the chemical cycle I can usually shake it off and power through it by keeping myself busy.  When things are actually wrong on top of one of these cycles it gets really bad.  Telling me I have nothing to be sad about is not helpful.

Why are you stressed out about work, at least you get to do something you love?  

It's true, I do get to do something I love for a living and it is amazing!  I do often get to work on stuff that I am so proud to be a part of and really fuels my soul with awesomeness, but not every job is artistically and creatively fulfilling.  Sometimes I'm working tech for a panel, for a school's meeting, for terribly written shows, etc...  However, as a recent graduate (I finished school this past December) I am trying to get myself more into the job market.  I am a freelance technician which means I have ZERO JOB SECURITY.  My employment is on the whims of others and is only every temporary.  Sometimes these contracts are for one day, one week, one month, etc... but they're going to end.  This means that while I am working on one job I am also having to constantly line-up additional jobs and I can't really say no to any of them because I don't know if there's going to be another one after that and I have to keep all my bills paid and try to stash as much money as possible for the dead times when there is no work.  Which brings me to my next point

Why are you so stressed out about money when you your boyfriend pays your rent?

This one just generally pisses me off.  B pays for our apartment, this is true.  I cover the storage unit that we share which costs around 1/3 of what he pays for where we live.  I also pay for my own health insurance, cell phone bill, car insurance, gas, etc...  you know the general things that one needs to exist.  Oh, did I also mention that I pay almost $1000 a year on property taxes for a house I don't live in 4 hours away?  That I also pay the electric bill for this house each month?  Don't forget the phone bill and the alarm system that I have to keep since the house sits empty on top of buying things for repairs and up keep ON A HOUSE I DON'T LIVE IN.  And somehow I pay for all of this while making an average of $500 a month.  Some months are better than others, but some months there is almost nothing coming in.   B and I have taken turns helping the other out if one of us gets a head, but neither of us completely financially supports the other.  When we first lived together I covered all the rent and he paid for the storage unit so things come around.  Which leaves me to my next point.

You have an awesome boyfriend, how could you possibly be sad?

Your happiness is not based on another human being.  I'm going to say that again, your happiness is not based on another human being.  It doesn't matter how awesome another person is, happiness is internal.  External things can contribute to your over all happiness, but if you are not basically happy it won't magically make you happy.  Depression includes:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches,  cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

These all cause major stress on any relationship; be they friendship, your partner, your co-workers, etc...  Being depressed affects all of the aspects of your life because it is an underlying theme in your existence.  Again, your happiness is not based on another human being, it has to come from within.  If you don't have it no one else is going to give it to you.  Significant others, friends, family, they are all helpful; but they are not your source of happiness.  It is something you have to work on for yourself and you have to work on it every day.  Some days are harder than others to keep it up.  This is normal.  It is a daily struggle to be a functioning member of society if you suffer from depression, especially if all you want to do is hide under a pile of blankets.  

I didn't write this as a "poor me, I'm so sad" post but as a "hey, these are things that happen so please don't invalidate my feelings because you don't get it" post. You may not understand why this happens because it may not happen to you.  If it doesn't happen to you then congratulations, you don't suffer from depression and that's great.  For those of us that do, this is our reality.  This is our daily struggle to keep going and try to make the best of what we have even when we don't feel up to it.  So please, PLEASE, don't tell someone their experience is doesn't matter because they're going through something you don't understand. 

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