Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Life is too short to wallow in sadness and misery.
I’m just going to come right out and say it… as somebody who has battled with depression in the past, I know how hard it can be to become trapped by these feelings. Feelings of helplessness, and constant sadness – it sometimes feels as though you’re trapped and you start to question whether or not you’ll ever get out? To anybody else, they don’t understand what this is like, but to those who have previously, or currently are battling with depression will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, one of the other serious sides of depression is suicide. So many others view taking their own life as the only way out; the only way to make the pain and the sadness end. It’s not nice, but it’s a harsh reality. Whilst we can all sit around and have a discussion about how it’s not the solution and there are so many other way of dealing with depression, unless you’re going through it, sometimes you’re so completely unable to look at the bigger picture; the wider perspective that everybody else seems to be able to see. They can sit there and tell you about how much they love you and care for you, and how losing you will create a ripple effect so massive amongst all your friends, family and co-workers etc… but you feel frustrated because you simply either don’t see it, or you’re so full of sadness you just don’t believe it. And I can at least speak with some authority, because I’ve gone through it. But we’re not going to talk about me, okay?!
What’s important is that in the event that somebody you know should be depressed, the absolute worst thing you could ever say to them is to ‘Just snap out of it’. Ya hearing me? THE WORST? NOBODY CHOOSES TO BE CONSTANTLY SAD! It’s not like you wake up in the morning and think ‘you know what, Fuck this. Fuck this whole ‘being happy’ thing everybody keeps going on about, I’m going to stop being happy and be sad instead. I’m just going to be sad all the time and cry for absolutely no reason, and alienate myself from everybody I know, and maybe even take my own life’. Who would choose that. Depression can be brought on for a myriad of reasons, from major life events, through to small things that others might not even give a second thought to.
Bottom line is that depression is not a choice. It’s also not something you can just easily pull yourself out of, just because somebody else tells you to. Reality is, if they haven’t experienced it, or have any kind of understanding about it, they’ll be the ones telling you to stop being so selfish, or melodramatic, or seeking attention. And this is a common problem amongst those with depression.
Those are the people you don’t need in your life. Unfortunately they need to be educated, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to understand that this is not just a condition, but a serious condition.
The other problem is that everybody handles their depression differently. Some people realise what’s happening and how they’re feeling, and actively pursue solutions to make themselves happy again. Others however, are already struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis, and the thought of then trying to get ‘better’ becomes quite daunting. For those people, it can take quite some time and several different approaches to find something that works for them. And recovery periods can also vary from a number of weeks through to a number of years.
Some get cats.
Some people exercise and some prefer medication.
Whatever it is, you need to understand that what works for one person, doesn’t work for the other. In my experience, initially I tried resisting medication, because I’d heard about some of the horrible side effects that it can bring on – and my mum was also trying hard to prevent me from going onto meds. I tried writing about my feelings. I tried counselling. I tried yoga. Nothing really seemed to work, hence I resorted to taking meds. Worst decision. EVER! I ended up trying three different types of meds, none of which actually did anything.
I realised that I just had to change my environment, and focus on me, rather than everybody else. And I did. I found yoga worked quite well for me… but lots and lots of sleep certainly helped as well. Granted, whilst I was feeling like shit, my brain was constantly yelling at me, telling me to stop being so fucking stupid. And after you start telling yourself this, eventually you start to believe it and move towards changing your mindset.
So yes, whilst I’ve said that life is too short to wallow in sadness and misery, sometimes you can’t help yourself. However, the sooner you start to bring some light into your darkness, the darkness begins to clear. It also helps to have a very close support network as well. And don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings. Sometimes, just talking through what you’re feeling can make more of a difference than you might think it does. Try it, you might be surprised. Or, if you find you can’t talk about it, try writing about it – maybe even do what I do, and write an anonymous (anonomouse) blog. I’ve often found that opening up to a complete stranger is far easier than opening up to a friend. They can look at things based on face-value, without bringing a personal relationship (bias) into it.
If you or anybody you know or care for are dealing with depression, please contact your local counseling service. For those in Australia, you can try the following:
Kids Help Line | Beyond Blue | Men’s Line | Man Therapy