“I have depression.”

A lot of people struggle with it on a daily basis, some have a more serious case than others. There are varying levels of it, probably as many as there are people.  I don’t know all the statistics, but I’m sure they’re easy to find if you’re interested.

For those that do, they understand how hard it can be to get out of bed in the morning. How much better your dreams can be, how happy you are in them.  Or maybe you’re just tired all. the. time.  And the idea of climbing out of bed is just too much to face.

Maybe you cry. A lot. At nothing and everything.

Maybe you want to hide. Or you try reaching out to everyone because the feeling of aloneness and lonliness is so bad, you just can’t stand the thought of not talking to someone for another minute. Or maybe you feel like that, but you’re so lost in your sadness that you just can’t imagine being around people which only compounds the depression.

Perhaps you are one of those people that just doesn’t want to bring those around you down. Or you’re the strong one in the family and you know that if you start to lose it, so will everyone else.  Maybe you have a partner or spouse who suffers from it and you feel you can’t put YOUR feelings onto them.

Or maybe you’re just scared. Maybe you’re afraid of the consequences of letting it out, of showing people what’s wrong with you.

Because depression is still misunderstood by those that don’t have it. Many people who don’t understand it, think it’s something you can fix by going out for more sunshine or by giving yourself a pep talk.  Or they think that you should just smile because by forcing the smile, you’ll feel better.

But for people with depression, it doesn’t work like that.  Depression is a very real condition with very real physical causes, symptoms and side effects. The need to sleep all the time isn’t laziness. The physical aches are the bodies manifestation of the emotional upheaval. The need to cry isn’t something that you can stop by forcing your muscles to form a smile.  For those with depression, it doesn’t work that way.

And when you get down into this darkness, you start wondering if there’s a way out. You start thinking that it’s never going to get better. You start wondering in your aloneness if anyone would miss you and the answer is almost always, “no, they wouldn’t.” You start thinking that you could be missing for days before anyone would even think to look for you. Yes, this includes people who are mothers and wives and fathers and sons.  Not to mention co-workers and friends. People who are depressed sometimes even think their own boss wouldn’t miss them.

So some people reach out.  Sometimes to someone close, like a husband or friend. And maybe they want to help. In fact,  I’m sure they do, but those with depression don’t always think that.

And sometimes people try for someone much further away. Someone unachievable. Like a celebrity or someone whose attention they’d never truly be able to catch. And without meaning to, they’re setting themselves up for failure.  And maybe they even do see the person and maybe they even do want to help.

But the problem is, as much as the depressed person might want someone to help, and they do, and as much as someone might want to help the depressed person – and they do – they can only do so much.  They can maybe keep that person from slipping away completely.  But they can’t save them.

The thought process is often, “If only this would happen.” Or “If only they would say…” And maybe that would do what I mention above. Keep them from slipping away completely – keep them from making an attempt on their own life.

But as I rode in on the train this morning to help my daughter get to her first jury duty (which I have never been called for, oddly), I started to think about some things. As much as those with depression might want what’s above, it won’t fix the problem.

That has to come from inside.  With help, yes, either in the form of chemicals (medication) or cognitive therapy or both, but we have to fix ourselves. No one else can fix us. And that’s the hardest, scariest thing about it all.

If you’re feeling this hopeless, how in the hell can you possible be expected to fix it yourself? You can barely climb out of bed every day, much less do the million things it takes to live.  So how can you possibly manage to fix such a monumental problem?

And how do I know all this? Because I do. I feel. I am.

I don’t have these answers.  I’ve done all of the above. I have reached out to someone I have no business asking for help. And I do hope that he forgives me.  It’s not for me to ask him. He’s got his own problems, I’m sure. If you’ve read this, I am sorry.

And in this, in all that I have struggled with as my depression has taken a sharp jump the last couple of weeks, I have made a new friend who has been amazing to me.  I have old friends who have tried to talk me through this. My own husband tells me over and over and over again that I’m worth it.  And yet, it doesn’t help.

Would hearing from the unattainable help? I don’t know. But it’s not his job to fix me.

It’s mine.

Part of the problem is that I lost my health insurance on the 1st. I am hopeful to get it back but until I do, there is no medical or psychiatric help for me.  However, I am trying, very hard, to hold on until I can get it.  I don’t want to die anyway.  I’ve been on the other side of that.

I’ve lost two friends to suicide in my life. And the aftermath of that is pure hell for those who are left behind.  I used to think it was the cowardly way out, but now that I’m here – and yes, I’ve been there and recently – it doesn’t feel like the cowardly way out. It takes an incredible amount of sadness to think that you won’t be missed anymore.  It takes an incredible amount of fortitude to do something about that sadness – in either direction.

I don’t know if I could do it. I say I couldn’t. I used to tell my husband that “I don’t know how to quit” and maybe that’s true. I hope so.

But I’m not as sure as I once was of it.

Thank you for reading.  If you’re struggling with any of this, allow me to give you something to remind you that we do want you around. Nickleback’s Lullaby says it well. (Click here for lyrics)

It’s easy for me to say that to someone else and I hope that maybe, if you’re struggling with that, you’ll come to me if you need someone to be that stopgap, that lifeline.  I’ll keep you here, if you need it.  I’ll hold onto you until you can figure out how to hold onto yourself.

Because I’ve needed it.