Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation.
Depression is humiliating.
If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too.
Depression is humiliating.
No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.
Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, Stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.
The head of a company survived 9/11 because
His son started kindergarten.
Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.
One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn’t go off in time.
One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.
One of them
Missed his bus.
One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.
Car wouldn’t start.
Get a taxi.
The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
Took the various means to get to work but before.
He got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today..
Now when I am
Stuck in traffic,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone…
All the little things that annoy me,
I think to myself,
This is exactly where
I’m meant to be
At this very moment