I shared this about my struggle with depression + anxiety on my Facebook page a while back, so forgive me if you’ve seen this already, but I got so many amazing messages from people going through the same thing, so I wanted to share it here too in hopes that it might reach + encourage someone else. So here it is…
This is a little scary to share…but I feel like it’s time and needs to be said.
Depression is a tricky thing.
It’s an ugly dark place that none of your family or friends really understand unless they’ve experienced it. It’s a hole you keep trying to dig yourself out of – all the while beating yourself up that you can’t because you “just need to change your mindset” or you just need to stop allowing yourself to “feel” depressed.
That’s the thing though.
Depression ISN’T a feeling.
It isn’t something that simply requires a “mind shift”.
I mean look – I’m ALL for making a mind shift – WHEN A MIND SHIFT IS WHAT’S NEEDED, but what most people don’t understand about depression – including most of the people who deal with it daily – is that just like you can’t cure cancer or diabetes by simply “deciding” not to have it anymore, you can’t cure depression, by deciding not to have it anymore either.
Depression is a PHYSICAL condition that just so happens to affect the way the brain functions. We can exert our will and control the way our minds work. We cannot however control what our brains do any more than we can by will control what any of our other organs do…are you following me?
I feel like I’ve kinda lost you…mainly because I’m pretty confused myself at this point…But I need you to stay with me. You know that saying “Mind over Matter”? I believe in it. Really. And you should too. But you should also understand that a positive, driven attitude has no more power over depression or anxiety than it does any other disease.
Having the attitude that I will beat this disease, doesn’t stop the symptoms. It simply changes my attitude about them and how I deal with them. Someone suffering from chronic pain may have days where they genuinely cannot get out of bed…but they also may have days where the attitude and position they have chosen on what they are dealing with will be the deciding factor on what they do…which can make the really bad days easier to endure.
That still doesn’t mean there aren’t some REALLY bad days. Days we can’t change no matter how badly or desperately we want to. No matter how hard we try. And what we really need more than anything on those days, is the understanding that we are giving it our all. That this truly IS the best we have to offer.
If you will support us on THOSE days…it may just give us the strength we need on the days where maybe we do have a little bit more to give. But if we’ve been made to feel that we are simply weak willed, weak minded, or ungrateful we accept those ideas about ourselves. We believe we simply aren’t good enough or strong enough…and we give up.
So my plea is…If you have someone in your life that deals with anxiety or depression or chronic pain or thyroid issues…or WHATEVER that you don’t understand or haven’t been through, don’t judge. Be supportive. Because that is going to get both you and them a lot further.
Depression is a real disease.
Anxiety is a real disease.
Chronic pain is a real disease.
Your OPINION of someone else’s issue does not change it.
Your love and support just might…
April was born and raised in south Louisiana where she still resides with her husband and their 3 children who she homeschools. Her hobbies include sleeping late, procrastinating, starting complicated DIY projects it takes her ages to complete, buying more books even though she hasn’t had time to read the last batch she bought, and finding ways to mildly annoy her husband (see first 4 hobbies). She’s overly opinionated, talks too much and too loud, and refuses to simply go along with the status quo. While she would love to be able to say she is one of those ride or die chicks, she simply has too many questions such as, “where are we going, but more importantly, can we stop for nachos??”