excuses and depression
Like I've said earlier; not every friend of mine or every relatives I have can understand Norwegian. So some of my posts are written in English. This time I thought I'd write about the fact that when you are dealing with depression, anxiety or any other form of mental health issues, you make excuses to avoid certain situations. It shouldn't have to be like this, but we (who are dealing with our inner demons) know that not everyone can either relate or understand our feelings.
Chances are if you met me when I was feeling low, you wouldn't know. I wear the mask of a healthy person incredibly well, because I've always lied about my depression – and I've got pretty damn good at it. At first it was out of a warped sense of shame. Because what I was suffering from wasn't visible or quantifiably measurable, I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing. But lying about things and hiding my feeling can be pretty fucking hard. You get tired, and at some point you reach your limit and break down. But we still come up with excuses, because our society is what it is.
Let's talk alcohol. I've written about this in Norwegian already. And how alcohol and anxiety works together in my head. In the immortal words of Lenny from The Simpsons, "Nothing like a depressant to chase the blues away." If you only take one thing from this post let it be this: Do not drink when you're depressed. I have done it. I sometimes still do it – I'm not a fucking saint. But know that it always makes things worse. I love me some alcohol, and I will probably always drink (to a certain extent), but I'm learning to drink just for pleasure rather than to try to numb how I feel.
And now to the saddest and most sickening excuse you have used or can use. But we all know this: No one fucks with death. There's a mass grave that exists in my head filled brimful of imaginary dead people. Bleak, right? But my head tells me that I'm pathetic for being sad, and that other people will think I'm pathetic too – better to off a few made-up people instead. Logically, I know this isn't true. But when I'm depressed my logic is like Captain Hook working as a gynaecologist: terrifyingly useless.
A lot of the time, I can't give a reason why I'm sad or crying, and my worry is that telling someone is going to make them run away from me, or judge the hell out of me. You can't ring up someone and go, "Hey, I can't stop crying. Oh, no reason. We can meet some other time instead. If I can get out of bed that is." But having a dead person as an excuse is an equation anyone can work out: (Dead Person + Me) x Closeness of Relationship = Amount of Sad. The ridiculous thing is, there IS a reason: a certifiable illness with its own spot in a medical book. But sometimes inventing dead people is a lot easier than trying to explain that.
A friend once said to me, "People who talk about their depression are usually faking it; it's the people who don't talk that you have to worry about." Take a minute and step back from the screen so that you can fully take in the idiocy of that statement. And that's just one example – I have hundreds. It's hard enough as it is battling your own demons, but when the world around you seems to be pre-programmed to treat what you suffer from as not real, what the shitting hell are you supposed to do?
The stigma of mental illness doesn't just come from healthy people. It's something that everyone, healthy and unwell, internalises. And when we hide our illness out of shame or embarrassment, we help perpetuate the idea that depression, anxiety, and all other mental health issues aren't legitimate illnesses.
When it comes down to it, the only "excuse" I should need is this: I have depression, it sucks, but I'm trying my best. I know that's easier said than done but hell, I'm going to give the whole honesty thing a go. So that's basically what I'm trying to do. To use this blog as therapy for myself, and if that could create awareness about this type of illnesses or help at least one person in this world - that would be amazing.