Depression is like a bad trip…

Depression and anxiety are treatable illnesses that won’t escape my world at the moment.  I don’t want it to become part of every facet of my life, but, just like diabetes, a broken leg or any other treatable illness, it has done.  I’ve been thinking in the last few weeks that depression is like having a bad trip.  People don’t like to talk about it.  Thinking about it makes them feel awful.  It is the constant haranguing fear and repetition of paranoid thoughts that diminishes your self-esteem, self-control and sense of self-worth.  That’s why it’s like a bad trip.  Of course, I haven’t had a bad trip, or a trip at all actually, so I can’t really compare.

In fact, perhaps it’s like being drunk.  People don’t like to admit they indulge too much in alcohol, the same way they don’t like to admit to having depression.  People don’t want to talk about their family member who’s an alcoholic.  It’s a great way of making excuses though!  He did this because he was drinking, she did that because she’s depressed – whether she actually did anything or not just because she is depressed doesn’t seem to matter.  It’s a great reason people can use to blame you without blaming you.  If you call someone on their behaviour they can say “it’s the alcohol talking” or “is your anxiety playing up?”  What a joke.  Of course, I haven’t been drunk either, so I can’t really compare.

Actually, what it’s really like is being unwell.  It’s like having a cold, and not being able to function 100 percent because you’re unwell.  You can still move, you can still get out of bed, you can still eat and drink, but not like you used to.  What it’s really like is being a child again.  It’s like being young and afraid, and not understanding why there is no reason to be afraid.  It’s like having a nightmare and not realising when you wake up that it was only a dream.  It’s like when you’re a teenager and you start to make the distinction between what is real in actuality and what is perception.  It’s realising that you’re unwell but you’re not supposed to talk about it – for no actual reason.  Truth be told, if we were able to say to a friend ‘I’ve been feeling depressed’ without fear of any other reaction than ‘how can I help?’ society wouldn’t have so many people suffering prolonged depression or anxiety.  Why can I tell my friend that I broke my arm, but I can’t tell her that I have depression?

I’m here to tell you that your expectations of everyone suffering depression are wrong.  Yep, you read it here folks, they’re wrong.  Why?  Because you’ve never really had depression or anxiety the same as the person you’re trying to understand, so you can’t really compare.

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2 thoughts on “Depression is like a bad trip…

  1. Hi Mel so let me get this right. Through your writing are you telling me you have depression. I would never have known which I think is the hardest part if this illness. A lot if people who suffer are very good at hiding it. You must let me know if there is anything at all ican do to help, like not crunch on crusket biscuits in your ear ha ha ha but seriously anything at all. I think your last paragraphs wraps it up well though as whether you have been through it or you haven’t no two people will ever experience exactly the same feelings and emotions. Kim

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    1. Hi Kim, I suppose I am. I haven’t told many people at work because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, but I am becoming more comfortable about it and I think it’s up to us to smash the stigma. It’s a treatable illness and it should be ‘treated’ as such – if you get my drift! 🙂 Thank you for your kind offers of help. I really appreciate it. It’s lovely to sit with you and the girls, and it was very good for me to go out to lunch the other day – a decision that was actually fraught with anxiety but again showed me that everything was alright. PS. Love your crusket biscuit crunching 🙂

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