Like any sufferer of a poorly understood illness, I’ve been the victim of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. I’ve dealt with symptoms that are common among sufferers while at the same time being specific to me. I’ve been discouraged and encouraged. Pathetic and strong. Happy and sad. But interestingly, in all of those states, I’ve always been me.
For me, my failures are real. My inability to achieve perfection is like a scab that I can’t help but pick at. I scrape at the surface, picking the edges so I can remind myself that I’ve failed.
A big part of my life has been spent learning to control the outward expression of my illness. Muting the sound of my internal dissent so that I can function in a world of logic and measurement.
When depression or anxiety symptoms start they’re almost innocuous. Anyone you choose to share with (including your doctor) will most likely tell you the symptoms will pass. They’ll put it down to stress, tell you to take time out for yourself and try some relaxation therapy. They might even tell you to get a new job.
We’d rather keep our illness a secret because we know that others don’t understand it. They’ll make unfair judgments about our behaviour and ability to “cope”. It’s clear that in 2020 Depression is a poorly understood “weakness” disease. If you contract it you’re frequently caste in the mould of lazy idiot.
Not the justice that can be measured in terms of crime and punishment or right and wrong, because humanity doesn’t seem to have the capacity for “fair”. But the justice that conveys I have a right to exist because I was created to do so. Justice that allows me to hope for a future I may not deserve, but will nonetheless provide the opportunity for me to uncover who I really am, because I know my creator.
Many depressed and anxious people perform incredible feats of emotional daring to make themselves appear “normal”. They fake illnesses so you’ll accept their excuses. They’ll hide behind alcohol, recreational drugs, obsessive routines, work-a-holism, arrogance and avoidance to make sure that you don’t make ripples that their “jerry-built” boats can’t handle.
When you live with depression and anxiety forgiveness can be a tough pill to swallow.
It’s true that you don’t have to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety or other emotional health issue to feel at times, that life sucks. After all, we all make bad decisions. But what is it that has people turning to religion, with it’s questionable reputation, when bad stuff happens?
Possibly the saddest thing about trauma for a child is that they cannot easily develop into the adult they were designed to be. Their natural, emotional growth is espaliered into fractured branches, each neatly groomed to ensure survival.