Unfair. Unreasonable. Unequivocal.

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. I missed it, because there are so many “Day’s” these days that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them, but I wanted to write this post anyway, because I wanted to share what I feel is one of the biggest struggles surrounding mental health, specifically depression.

There is plenty of stigma surrounding mental health, and with depression in particular one of the most frustrating reactions that I personally have had to endure is this idea of “what do you have to be depressed about?”

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The unfortunate issue is that mentally-healthy people see depression as a cause-and-effect situation: something bad happens, and the victim becomes depressed. They understand depression in relation to a loved one dying, or a house burning down, or a job being lost. But when they see someone living what is considered to be a good life, they scoff at the idea of that person being depressed. “What do you have to be depressed about?”

So I want to reiterate, as someone who has dealt with it: being depressed, mentally, is not the same thing as being sad, temporarily. We all experience sadness when bad things happen to us. We may even consider ourselves to be “depressed” if it’s a particularly difficult time in our lives that we’re having a difficult time getting through. But being depressed from a mental health standpoint – from a clinical standpoint – is not nearly the same thing. Being depressed is not a cause-and-effect situation. Depression does not require a cause, does not require something to set it off. Depression simply is. Unfairly. Unreasonably. Unequivocally.

I have a good life. I know this. I have a husband who loves me and regularly tells me so. I have a beautiful, intelligent daughter who adores me. I have a huge extended family of wonderful people who support me. I’ve published two books, have a mildly-successful YouTube channel, and have good friends and lots of followers who treat me like someone to be in awe of. I have a good life. I know this.

And yet, on a startlingly regular basis, my brain tells me otherwise. It tells me that I’m useless and pathetic. It tells me that no one loves me, that my life is worthless, and that there’s not a single person out there who could possibly understand how I feel. It tells me that I haven’t got a single thing in this world to be happy about.

Unfair. Unreasonable. Unequivocal.

Depression isn’t logical. A person suffering depression can have two voices in their mind at the exact same time – one telling them how lucky they are to be alive, and the other telling them that they’d be better off dead – and whether or not they are able to press forward depends on which voice manages to shout louder at any given time.

And then there’s the third voice – the voice from the outside, asking, “What do you have to be depressed about?” And I will tell you right now, and make no mistake about it: that outside voice lends power to the depression. Pointing out that a depressed person shouldn’t be depressed, does not magically make them realize that you’re right, and that they should be all sunshine and rainbows. Pointing out that a depressed person shouldn’t be depressed helps to prove to them that their brain is broken which – listen closely now – is a really depressing realization.

I understand that it’s difficult to comprehend what could possibly be going on in another person’s mind. It’s the great divide between us all that none of us will truly be able to understand the thoughts and feelings of another. But instead of fighting that realization, I ask you to accept it. Even if it makes absolutely no sense to you, even if you can’t understand for the life of you why someone with such a good life could possibly be depressed, I ask you to simply accept the fact that you don’t know. You have zero idea what’s going on in that person’s head. You have absolutely no clue about how they are truly feeling. You can sympathize, for sure, but in the end you can not understand, not truly. We’re all trapped in our own minds, for better or for worse, and you can never truly know exactly what’s happening behind the eyes of another.

So take that reaction – that desire to ask “What do you have to be depressed about?” – and clamp your teeth on it. Shove it away, and instead simply try to understand that depression – true depression – does not only affect those who are currently in sad or unfortunate situations. Depression – true depression – does not discriminate, doesn’t play fair, doesn’t have any rhyme or reason, and is unequivocally cruel.

Be aware, be empathetic, and be an ally, because the only way to truly fight depression is to fight it together.

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What I Am Currently Reading/Watching/Playing…

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I recently started a new job, and if you didn’t know, the nature of my work requires me to fly to another province and live there for 2-3 weeks, working daily 12-hour shifts the entire time I’m there. As you can imagine, this schedule doesn’t leave a lot of room for free time, but during the time that I do have I squeeze in as much as I can to keep myself sane. So I thought I’d share what I’m currently…

…Reading:
First off, I wanted to mention that I recently finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and I absolutely loved it. I don’t know what I was expecting from the book, but it actually surprised me in a big way. I loved the story, the characters, the crazy semi-dystopian future that Cline created, and the non-stop pop culture references and throwbacks to geek and gamer culture and history. It’s definitely worth a read – especially if you grew up through the 80’s, and I’m totally stoked for the upcoming movie now.

But to be more true to the word “currently”. I’m actually reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone again for the Basement Geeks Book Club. I’m only on Chapter 3 as of the writing of this post, but I’m enjoying it so much. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read any of the series and I’d forgotten a lot of the smaller moments in the narrative that make up the greater whole.

I’ll also shortly be starting another book with the same book club called Family Don’t End With Blood, and I’m very excited about this one. It’s basically a compilation of stores about people whose lives have been affected by the show Supernatural. Since I absolutely love that show to death, and the book has chapters and inserts from the stars of the show, I can’t wait to delve into that one.

…Watching:
I decided to use the time I’m stuck out here alone to watch some things that Jason doesn’t want to, and I’ve started with Death Note. I started the anime series about a teen who gains the power to kill by writing a person’s name in a notebook a while ago, but at the time I only got a few episodes in because I was distracted by other things. I enjoyed rewatching the episodes I’d already seen, but now I’m into the episodes I hadn’t yet gotten to, and I’m really into it. I can’t wait to see where the story goes by the end. Plus I just love the shinigami character, Ryuk. He’s too awesome.

Once I’ve finished Death Note, I’ll probably move on to Supernatural and Doctor Who, because it’s sick that I’m an entire season behind on both of them.

…Playing:
This will be the most boring entry in this post because, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t really had the time to be playing anything lately, especially now that I’m working again. Between 12-hour days, catching up on my social media and channel-related stuff daily, and the aforementioned reading and watching, there’s not enough time left in the day to really get into a video game. I’ve been wanting to get back into Borderlands 2 on my Vita, after watching Jason playing a bit of it on the PS4, but there’s really no sense in getting into a game like that unless you’re willing to sit down and dedicate at least an hour into it at a time. That said, I’ll admit that I’ve been playing two phone games during breaks at work while I’m eating. One is Magikarp Jump, which is a fun little game that’s strangely addictive, but also doesn’t involve any real skill at all. It’s the type of game where you just poke the buttons and watch what happens, and it can only really be played for five minutes or so at a time. The more involved one I’ve been playing is Sailor Drops, which is basically a Candy Crush clone, but with the storylines of Sailor Moon attached to it. I’m highly addicted, if only because they keep having special events in which you can unlock more and more characters and I desperately want to get them all.


So that’s what I’ve been consuming recently. What about you? Any new, fun stuff on your list? Anything you recommend? Anything you vehemently DON’T recommend? Please feel free to share!