If you’ve ever been depressed there’s no good way to explain it to any person who never has been. Depression makes no sense . . . to you or to anyone else. The feelings, the lack of feelings, the confusion, the hollowness, the detachment, the fatigue. If you’re ever asked to explain it and people are polite enough to pretend they’re actually listening to you, because they asked, after all . . . they eventually stop. You’re complaining; you probably put yourself into that state, and it’s really just the blues, so . . . yeah. Snap out of it!
I’ve been in that awkward position of trying to explain myself to somebody close to me who, for whatever reason, thought I was kidding about my depression. I imagine some people might kid about it but I have no idea why–maybe for attention? Some believe depression is mostly physiological and that you really can snap out of it. Maybe, but I would categorize something you can ‘snap out of’ as ‘the blues’.
For many others, there is a genetic predisposition to depression and/or a true chemical imbalance in their bodies. Whatever the reasons, depression is real (whether temporary or long term) and it debilitates people. I’ve listened to people complain that the actions of depressed people are selfish. Clearly those people have never been in that vacant, emotional place depression creates so their opinion is, honestly, kind of moot.
For people who don’t want to readily dismiss someone who isn’t a shiny, happy example of humanity, there is a lot to be learned about people suffering from depression. One excellent lesson about it is this post from Hyperbole and a Half.
I was blown away, delighted, and completely moved when the talented and tremendously funny Allie of Hyperbole and a Half resurfaced in May last year and explained depression in a way nobody else possibly could– with one of her amazing comic blog posts.
A lot of people thought Allie had died because she hadn’t written anything for a year. It turned out she was dealing with her depression and posted when she was finally able to write and draw about it. Her article struck a nerve with tons of people and she shut her commenting down when her blogging platform couldn’t accept any more (5,000+).
I laughed–she always makes me laugh–and I cried in recognition. I thought her post should be a required text for anybody who was even pretending they cared to understand what being depressed is like. Her article is an honest, entertaining, and quite accurate (for many) explanation of what depression is like.
I hope you’ll read her post. It is one of the most crystal clear explanations about something I’ve ever read. Maybe Allie’s story will help you understand why all the sparkly, well-intentioned encouragement in the world sometimes doesn’t matter to a person who is depressed. And I hope that if you know somebody who resembles Allie’s description, you’ll be patient with him or her, keep a close eye, and not give up on them.
If that person is you, I hope this post and Allie’s post help you remember you are not alone and there will be a day when you will feel like yourself again. You can and you will get through it.
Feeling good, feeling blue, or absolutely down in the dumps, we know that Laughter is the best medicine. Read as much of Hyperbole and a Half as you can. Allie’s stories will make you laugh out loud–really loud.
Hey, thanks for stopping by. We’re glad you did.