By Paul Tedesco
Depression, by virtue of its name and reputation seems monolithic. Sort of one size fits all — an evenly dispersed fog that blankets all. It’s not true but neither is truth monolithic — there are degrees of truth. Truth and falsehood are in locked step with arms interlocked.
If a person has a lousy day full of stress and unforeseen circumstances and feels down at the end of it are they simply reacting normally? I mean every one of us has had a bad day. We just hope that tomorrow will be better, more routine, predictable, back to a recognizable and comforting routine. More often than not, the dust settles and your life returns.
What if that one off day repeats itself — day after miserable day? What was once routine becomes unrecognizable. What was once manageable and well within your comprehension and control wiggles out of your normally firm grasp. You find yourself avoiding co-workers who you usually enjoy yakking with and grousing about the stresses of work.
What if what was once second nature sneaked it’s way down to fourth or fifth, that organizing and prioritizing became increasingly difficult, that what were once clear instructions were now ambiguous and unclear — a jumble of words, vaguely familiar yet unclear and indiscernible. What if it got the point that even the thought of sitting in a meeting made you panic? A nagging fear of brain freeze where what’s being said and asked of you is unrecognizable and for some strange reason each day had become an uphill slog. When you get home each night you are dog tired yet you just lay awake each night replaying the events of the day. What if simply eating became an unwanted chore and when a family member asks you about your day, you become unusually evasive to the point of irritation?
What if, over time, your view of yourself changed? You felt unworthy. Your sense of self-identity was slowly slipping away and all of this was making you feel inconsolably sad. The simple things that you once enjoyed seemed foreign to the point of annoying. Your sense of time became strangely distorted. Life it’s self, over the last few weeks, didn’t seem to have a point or purpose. What if nasty, ugly thoughts about simply living haunted you and you kept repeatedly asking – what’s wrong with me? I’m unrecognizable to myself, my family, and my friends. I feel confused, desperate and alone and I don’t know how much longer I will be able to cope. I can’t tell anyone because I am ashamed — I feel guilt ridden and weak and at a loss for answers.
Depression is not monolithic it comes in many shapes and forms and effects everyone differently. It has nothing to do with strength of character or personal preference. When it comes a calling it doesn’t ring the doorbell and introduce itself — it just is. One thing is for certain, that you are not alone and although depression seems endless — it’s not true. The beginning of the end of depression is embodied in a simple yet painfully awkward declaration: I need your help.