I carefully wrapped tape around each and every finger, covering up each fingerprint. Throughout the day everything I touched was numb to the most sensitive part of my fingers. I found myself enjoyed the lack of feeling. There was no real reason for taping my fingertips. At the time, it was just a random thing a sleep deprived college student was doing during her regular early morning shift. But now, I realize that it was more than that.
I have known for years that I struggle with depression, but it is still hard to believe. I never wanted this. I grew up seeing people struggle and was affected by it. I told myself that I would never be like them so as not to also hurt those around me. I did not understand depression.
I know I am not alone in depression because 14.8 million American adults also struggle with depression. Every single person’s depression is different but they all have common elements. I recently read an amazing BuzzFeed article where people shared what they want others to know about their depression. It was an inspiration to me because there is so much that those close to me don’t understand about my specific depression. So, I wanted to echo some of the article’s statements that I could relate too.
“Just because I’m a genuinely positive person doesn’t mean I don’t have depression. It is so much more than being sad and negative. For me it’s more about having no motivation for anything, which is frustrating because I am a very ambitious person.”
This statement is so me! I am a genuinely positive and happy person. Because of this, many people are surprised that I struggle with depression. There are two reasons for this:
- I put on a mask. If I am in a dark place, I avoid hanging out with friends and family. Then, when I do spend time with people, I act like everything is normal. I don’t want to be seen in my darkness.
- Depression is not being sad all the time. Majority of the time I’m actually not sad. I am simply numb. I have no motivation to do anything. It reminds me of the dreams where I am running in slow motion and can’t speed up even though I’m being chased. I simply watching myself thinking, “What the heck is wrong with you! You are letting everything you have worked for slip away!” But, I can’t stop the numbness so instead I sleep the days away.
“I wish people wouldn’t feel the need to instantly ‘fix’ me. Sometimes it’s nice to be cheered up, but there will be times when I need to just sit and think about things or simply don’t want to be cheered up.”
Oh my goodness, YES! That is my biggest pet peeve, someone trying to “fix” me. I appreciate that they care enough about me to want to help. But, unless they are a licensed therapist, they shouldn’t tell me how to handle my depression.
What I do need is your friendship and love. Your simple texts, phone calls, and time spent together have meant the world to me. Just keep doing what have been doing.
“That it’s not temporary. For me depression has been and will be a lifelong mental illness. Even though I take my medication and go to counseling, it doesn’t mean that my depression will ever go away.”
I’ve had people respond to my depression by saying, “Oh, I didn’t realize that things where bad in your life,” or, “There are so many worse things that could be happening to you,” … Ugh…. Just because I have depression does not mean my life is bad. Actually, my life is pretty good right now! I just got a new job and my husband and I have never been better in our relationship.
I understand that people have difficult things in their life that can make them depressed. But, my depression is not just a phase, it’s chronic. Just like chronic pain, taking some medicine and resting for a couple of days isn’t going to make it disappear. I am learning to manage my depression but it will never go away.
“I wish they understood how it doesn’t always look like it does in the movies, I’m not tragically and beautifully sad. I’m not always looking for a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to, most of the time I just want to be alone.
“I wish they knew how much it kills me when I want to cancel plans because I just can’t do anything. I wish they knew that at times like that all I want is to sit and not talk. Taking me out somewhere could just make me feel worse because they’ll have put time and thought into something I just can’t force myself to do.
“I wish they knew how much that depression doesn’t define who I am as a person, and how much I wish that they looked at me without that pity in their eyes when I say I’m tired.”
Being numb all the time makes me want to be alone. There are times when I don’t want to do anything and that is okay. Most of the time I love talking and spending time with people. But, my depression and anxiety take a lot of my energy. Please don’t be offended, because it has nothing to do with you as a person and everything to do with me and my depression.
Also, and most importantly, I am going to be okay. Depression sucks! But I am learning to deal with it and I have been for years. From jr. high through today I have struggled with the numbness, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and tendencies. This is not anything new in my life.
Wrapping my fingers in tape on that early morning made going through the daily tasks physically numb to me. I liked it because it reflected how I felt emotionally. I didn’t realize then how bad my depression was during that time. I have since received significant professional help which has has allowed me to better manage my depression.
I want you to know that you make a difference in my life! Because of this, I need you to understand my depression. You can’t take it away but you can love me even when I have no desire to love myself.