Depression Glorification

Artistically presenting - Depression -

While talking about depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues have become more common today (though there is still a very real stigma against people who experience these issues), when I was a kid it wasn't discussed at all.  I never knew these feelings within me had a name until my 20s, and that's even with having a mother who has mental health issues and took medication off and on for various amounts of time.

Earlier this year, Gabrielle of @MusingsofaFox started a "Glorification" series on Instagram, photos artistically representing her chronic conditions.  In her words:
As a fat person on the internet, I’ve been accused of glorifying a whole bunch of things so I thought it was high time I lean in to that accusation and take the opportunity to artistically present the conditions that impact my existence every day. If you would like to participate, please use #healthisnotworth.
I knew I wanted to participate somehow, but it wasn't until a couple months later that inspiration really struck.  I've already presented my Thyroid Cancer Glorification post to you.  Today's topic is depression.

Artistically presenting - Depression -

At present, my depression has its own seasonal/holiday depression.  It's a Depression Inception at its most delightful. 🙄☹️ And being in it makes it surprisingly harder to write about it.  I thought it would be easier because I could describe exactly what I'm feeling, but when I try to do that I just feel...empty. Numb. There's an apathy followed by my anxiety reminding me of all the things I need to get done in the next couple of weeks and how I'm so pathetic for not being motivated to get it done.  Then that makes me feel like more of a piece of shit than I originally felt and it snowballs into me curled in a ball on my bed sobbing because I'm convinced everybody hates me and wants me to die.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure I've had depression since I was a child.  I was always more sensitive than the people around me, which landed me nicknames like "Eeyore" from my mom who made sure to tell me that I was "too sensitive" and "too negative" and "too much" of everything. And all of those feelings were just constantly exacerbated by the incredible loneliness that comes with being the daughter of a narcissist, from moving to a new town year after year, from being physically and emotionally abused and humiliated on a daily basis.

I tried so hard to not be the "sad girl".  I plastered a smile on my face and pretended like I was fine no matter what was going on.  I laughed extra loud, tried to be as agreeable as possible, and kept as much of myself hidden away as I possibly could, even during the times I've struggled with feelings of suicide.

But having depression makes me feel like I'm drowning & I'll never make it to the surface.  That feeling was the inspiration for this photoshoot.  My original idea was to be under the water, falling away from the surface, too exhausted to fight, but there is only so much you can do in a bathtub.  I also forgot that water doesn't just stay out of your nose when you're underwater, so that was an unpleasant experience on top of reliving a depressive mental state.

I think people usually mean well when they post on social media about being there for their friends if they come to them about being depressed or suicidal, but that sentiment means nothing if you aren't listening.  It takes a LOT for people who are feeling these heavy emotions to even say it to anyone.  Most likely they won't tell you directly.  If you want to be there for your friends with mental illness, you need to be listening.  I've reached out to people before about how bad I've felt, and most people don't back up their words on the internet.  They shrug it off.  That rejection is completely heartbreaking and ensures that person will never use whatever courage they can muster to share with you again.

Depression isn't easy to navigate for anyone.  It's always there lurking.  I don't always know when it will strike.  Sometimes I can feel it creeping up.  Sometimes I know it may be coming because of the time of year or some triggering day is on its way.  I can be mindful and prepared for it and do everything I can to keep it from moving in for a while, but that isn't always successful.  While my depression doesn't tend to last as long as it used to (and again, it is always there and always lurking, but its effects can be felt on more of a spectrum), it can still be around for days, weeks, or months at a time.  And when it is happening, it feels like it will never end.

If you are struggling with the same thing, please know you are not alone.  Depression and anxiety will both lie to you about everything, even though it doesn't feel like lies.  It feels like real, provable facts.  It feels like judgment.  It feels like a life sentence to pay for crimes that weren't even your fault.  We are stronger than we think we are and we are worthy of being here.

Artistically presenting - Depression -

No comments