Thank you to everyone who has been sending encouraging messages to me and sharing their beautiful stories, you are all instrumental to my recovery and dealing with my Depression and Anxiety. I have to admit, these past few days have been some of the lowest I’ve had since going on medication for Depression. As I mentioned before, my dosage was lowered and the resulting effects have been brutal on my mind and my body. The thoughts of “what the hell am I doing with my life?” have been slowly creeping back into my mind like a soundless fog. Remember the poison fog from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie? It looked completely harmless at first, but at first contact with the body, it proved to be painful and debilitating. Yes, I just compared my Depression to a teen fiction novel but hey, whatever works right? Today, I am feeling so much better spiritually, but am still humbled by the experience I’ve had because it reminds me that I am still in the thicket of the forest and not home yet.
Something that I have been feeling for a while has been digging destruction in the back of my mind and I must relieve the tension by finally letting it out. I feel that the word Depression is used extremely casually in our society’s every day conversations. It is many times a day that I will overhear someone around me talking about how ‘depressing it was that he didn’t call again’ or how someone’s day was so ‘depressing because they didn’t get a chance to have their regular iced chai tea latte’. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that the words Depression and Anxiety should be more common in our society’s culture, however I believe that they should be said with honest intention and with bravery instead of frivolity. To a person suffering from Depression or Anxiety, any small upset can turn into a huge elephant smashed into the recesses of our minds, impossible to be ignored and hard to get out of our heads. A deviation from regular routine or a disruption from happiness can truly throw an individual in our community into a Depressed or Anxious state and it is not something to be taken lightly. The worst types of illnesses to deal with are always the invisible ones because the hurt is not embedded black and blue on the skin. This makes those who don’t suffer think that it is then an illness that is lacking integrity or “realness”.
Let me tell you right now, Depression and Anxiety is as real as the self harm that sometimes results from them. There is nothing frivolous or shrug-worthy about these serious mental illnesses. That is why all of my blog posts feature the words Depression and Anxiety in capital letters. This might not be grammatically correct, however it is to me and should be to our community. Important words deserve capital letters and to not simply blend in with the rest of the adjectives and identifiers in the sentence. Depression and Anxiety are not only extremely significant, but more importantly, deserve attention and intention.
I am also not suggesting that the Depression and Anxiety community become some elitist group who think that these words belong to them only and that no one else can utter phrases that contain them at all. As we strive for openness and honesty, we also hope and strive for our loved ones to feel comfortable saying those words meaningfully in their every day language. One of the biggest moments of ‘coming out’ to my family was them uttering the words Depression and Anxiety for the first time. This made it real for me and made me believe that THEY believed in my struggle as well. If they were willing to acknowledge Depression and Anxiety and talk about it with intention to their friends, it would hopefully breed a world of understanding for our community and within themselves.
Rather than using the word Depressed to describe a half-assed feeling about a delicious Starbucks drink, accept it as the serious feeling that accompanies a mental illness and use it with INTENT. Adopting Depression and Anxiety into your vocabulary as contemplatively as the individuals who actually suffer from them will allow a better sense of compassion and sympathy in the world. Mental Illnesses are as foreign and misunderstood in America as Indigenous New Guinea languages and the only way to incite change and education about them is to start small. Start with something easy, like using the word Depressed to describe a moment that actually made you feel lost, hopeless, or filled with utter sadness. Trends or ideals in our society are completely socially constructed, meaning that enough people buying into something will ideally create a new way of living.
This idea gives me hope. This idea keeps me going every day. Live a life filled with intention, respect and awareness of those silently suffering around you. It gives them hope to hear you acknowledge and attempt understanding of their struggle. Remember as always, Keep Your Heads Up My Loves.