Why I never reach out...
Seems some people don't quite understand why I and others like me don't reach out, or look for support.
We're conditioned not to; we learn early that our struggle is ours alone, not directly mind you, just in the seeming indifference of those who don't understand. Mind you, perception is reality in a lot of cases.
I grew up thinking I was broken, completely unlike everyone around me. This lead me to internalize everything. No reaching out, no comfort from others. Being bullied, insulted, even simply being teased, all of it stayed inside. I didn't feel that I had anyone to turn to, anywhere to go. Did some pretty nasty things to my mental state. I thought I was utterly, completely unlikable.
This brings me to adulthood. The effect now is simple. I don't like to involve myself in people's lives. I feel like I am intruding, unless I get an invite from someone. Even then, there is a quiet voice that questions that. I know a lot of great people, and I've enjoyed most of the time spent together. I see someone on Facebook or in a game I'm playing, but I can't bring myself to say anything.
This is why I rarely invite anyone over, or out to lunch. I just don't feel like I have any place to do so. My overwhelming belief is that if someone wants me around, they will let me know. Logically, I know this is wrong. Sadly, the fight between logic and depression is very one-sided.
I think mood swings are the worst part of depression, for me. They are a big part of the reason I don't make plans. I am terrified that when it comes time to go somewhere or see someone, my mood is going to drop and I won't be able to handle the experience.
Working through my therapy as given me the ability to feel the mood change coming on, so I can do whatever I need to be comfortable. I simply don't like anyone being around when it happens. That's the really bad part, purposefully isolating myself for what I feel is my own protection and what I perceive as the comfort of others.
A reaction to reactions...
Just getting something off my chest.
So, two celebrity suicides made headlines. I made the mistake of reading the comments, and saw ignorance of epic proportions.
For starters, my depression presents itself in one of two ways. I start out the day in a good mood, and then out of nowhere a nasty funk sets in. Just, overwhelming sadness. This became pretty easy to deal with over time; pretty much any kind of distraction works. Movies, games, music, conversation. Couple hours later I am just fine. Rinse and repeat whenever this happens.
The other is bad. That's when I wake up and existence hurts. I have no emotions, no thought of being. It isn't that I DON'T care, it's simply that I CAN'T care. Nothing matters. I am an empty vessel floating on an empty sea. This is when I walk the edge. This is when I want to go to sleep and not wake up. There is nothing anyone can do for me. This is an internal battle that I learned to fight using anger and hatred. Primal fires are the easiest to stoke.
That being said, when I see people using words like selfish or cowardly, I get frustrated. Attacking the person that commits suicide as though it was done out of malice. If you haven't been there, you can't know.
I see and hear people say "Oh, he/she should have reached out, got help."
I did reach out. But I learned from a very young age that my thoughts didn't matter. My feelings didn't matter. That I didn't matter. Whether true or not, it is how I was conditioned to think.
When I reached out, all I got was nonsense advice. Get over it. You have no reason to be sad. Get drunk. Get high. Get laid. Talk to God. Never "What's going on?", or "Want to talk?"
Luckily, I am blessed with a strength to fight even the worst days. But not everyone can. At least not forever.
Here we go...
Depression is currently thought to be a combination of low serotonin levels in the brain, and some kind of event that brings on the the disease.
For me, it was a combination of growing up in an alcoholic household, moving every two to three years, physical shame, and being an awkward child/teenager.
The first coping mechanisms I learned revolved around anger and shutting myself off from the people around me. A lot of this stems from reaching out and not getting what I needed. As I got older, the more the anger and dark thoughts ruled my days. I didn't start coming out of this until my late twenties.
I taught myself to find other ways to live with depression, and one of the greatest joys for me was training other people wherever I was working. If I could help someone else gain/hone the tools needed to be successful, it helped me feel better. No anger, no hateful thoughts. Trying to be a better person.
I am currently working backwards through my life with a psychologist, untangling knots and tearing down walls. I can honestly say I know what fear is, now. This is hard.
And if you have, or know someone that has, depression, then you'll understand why I can't breathe right now.
What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson