If you Google “what is depression,” you’ll find a lot of clinical explanations. It’s “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” It’s “a common but serious illness.” It’s a disorder that “affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year.”
It’s all of that.
But when you’re on the inside, depression is a lot of doing what you’re not supposed to do.
You aren’t supposed to burst into tears when you knock over a glass of soda.
You aren’t supposed to go to bed at 8 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m. still feeling like you could use another month of sleep.
You aren’t supposed to sit in the shower with the warm water beating on your back and sob.
You do them all. And when you try to explain why, you can’t. Not to the people you love. Not to the people who love you. Not to the people who scoff at the very idea that one cannot simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps and “just get over it.”
Because the truth of doing what you’re not supposed to do when you have depression is that you can’t explain any of it to yourself.
If you could, perhaps you would be able to loop your fingers through those bootstraps and pull. You wouldn’t need medicine, surely, to correct the chemical imbalances in your brain that cause it to malfunction.
But then, can a diabetic explain why their pancreas refuses to produce a sufficient amount of insulin? Can a celiac explain why it is their gut misfires when encountering gluten? Can a cancer survivor explain why it is that cells in their body are forming at a rapid, unregulated pace?
The pancreas does what it’s not supposed to do. The gut does what it’s not supposed to do. The cells do what they’re not supposed to do.
And so does the depressive.
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