Hallo, darlings. I’ll skip the “long time, no talk” jabber and dive right into it. Today, Dave and I are bringing you a super fun topic: depression. And since Dave is sitting in the corner chewing Barbie heads like a feral man-child, I guess I’ll be doing most of the work. This post is coming a bit late following the media blowout of the suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade—don’t start with the conspiracy theories, Dave—but this post isn’t exactly about suicide (most of which are not deemed media-worthy). Since depression can lead to suicide, the two topics can often go hand in hand.
Anyway, since this is already getting pretty dark, what say we get started!
Right, so, depression means different things to different people. Those who have never experienced it typically don’t understand it. Those who have experienced it … well, they don’t typically understand it either. I’m going to avoid the neurochemical and/or physiological aspects of depression, because that’s not really what I want to focus on. Also, because I’m not only referring to clinical or diagnosed depression. What I want to focus on is being depressed, the state of depression as it affects an individual.
Understanding the Cause
To understand the cause of depression, you have to be able to understand that in some cases … there is no cause. Sure, the whole chemical imbalance or specific brain region trauma/abnormality blah blah blah—yes, those are identifiable causes for depression. But, in some cases, depression just is. It’s there. You can follow the thread of it back to the onset only to find a wall. So, then, why are you depressed?
In my opinion, that is one of the most harmful questions for someone going through a depressive episode. It’s an ignorant question asked from—likely—good intentions. And yet, if the sufferer has no identifiable cause, it’s a question that’s impossible to answer. Trying to answer it can make the sufferer feel inadequate, even stupid. It’s such a simple question, after all, and one the sufferer likely asks his/herself throughout the episode.
Depression and sadness are often used interchangeably. While sadness can become depression, the two are not the same (shocking revelation). Sadness is an emotion; depression is the pushing down of your entire personality. “I feel sad,” vs “I am depressed.” It seems an insignificant differentiation on the page (or screen). It’s not (another shocking revelation).
Now, I’m just your average country bumpkin, so explaining how depression feels is hard. So, give me a second to dust the cult off my writing shoes (shameless plug for upcoming book Commonality Sanctum) and let’s see if I can’t wow you with some sentences.
Depression is …
Depression is despondency, but it’s more than that and it’s less than that.
Depression is the lack of fire, the lack of fight.
Depression is the loss of will, the loss of passion.
Depression is the total blackout that blinds you to who you were before the episode and who you want to be again.
Depression is laughing for hours with your best friend and then, in the five seconds of conversational stillness, getting lost.
Depression is wanting to go home … but you’re already there.
Depression is staring at the wall, because what else is there?
Depression is the stone on the stone on the stone on the stone on your chest, weighing you down.
Depression is not caring, because caring requires a spark of something that isn’t there, not right now.
Depression is waiting around for the episode to end, but you aren’t holding out much hope.
Depression is, “I don’t want to do this.”
Depression is, “I can’t do this.”
Depression is, “Why even try?”
Like I said at the top, super fun content today. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, reach out to them. If you are a sufferer having an episode, just keep in mind there are numerous crisis hotlines. And remember, the storm will pass, but you have to be alive to appreciate it.