To be clear, the following rant is not applicable to those of you/us that have an on-going working relationship with our mental disabilities. This is for those people who aren’t actually depressed at all but think their online self-diagnosis means they are most likely suffering from the most rare and deadly brain tumour possible, or that their depression is so fathomless and unique, when they actually grieving/pissed off/misanthropic.
You know the people. The ones that you want to pat on the head and say, “Yes, your depression is special, just like everyone elses”. The ones that, in most cases, walk into the office and say “I’m feeling sad today” while it’s pouring rain outside. (Duh. Weather affects your mood. Happens to all of us.) The ones that claim to everyone who will listen, “I’m so depressed”, and then spend hours telling you about how depressed they are.
Since long before all this accident hoopla, I have suffered from migraines, which are (from Wikipedia): typically [the headache is] unilateral (affecting one half of the head) and pulsating in nature, lasting from 2 to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound) and the pain is generally aggravated by physical activity. Up to one-third of people with migraine headaches perceive an aura: a transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbance which signals that the headache will soon occur.
If you’ve ever had one, you know that the paragraph above doesn’t do them justice. I have gotten them since I was a little girl. My teachers used to tell my mother that I couldn’t possibly have a headache all the times I said I did and accused me of lying about it to get out of school. I have spent cumulative months of my life in bed with a cold cloth over my eyes trying desperately not to vomit again. You don’t understand them until you’ve really actually had one. In my case, they’re a familial inheritance. More than once I’ve suddenly lost half the vision in one eye – a real hassle while in the middle of a retail shift. But I deal. It’s what we do.
And yet, I have met so many people who claim they have them as well but in reality have no blithering idea how to tell migraines from plain old headaches. I detest people who arbitrarily announce, “Oh my head! I’m having a migraine”. Please. You might be able to fool the masses, but for people who know the stages you’re not passing muster. If you actually had one and were into the third stage (the phase where it begins to cause pain), you’d be prone on the floor, blinded by the light, unable to move in case the world suddenly shifted its axis thereby making you terribly vomitous, NOT walking around, hand on forehead, proclaiming loudly that you were experiencing one.
To bring this back around to the original topic, I equate people who are all, “Woe is me, I’m so depressed” to migraine fakers. You know that The Princess Bride quote? “That word you are using. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Again, those of us who have experienced real depression are not fooled. Real depression would never let you out in public to proclaim your suffering to the world. Real depression is what makes you hide in a corner behind the furniture because you can only deal with the small, tidy space under the bed right now. It makes you cry, uncontrolled and unstoppable, for hours on end, unable to explain why in words even if you knew why, and you never know why. It makes you barely able to open your eyes, and when you do everything is so chaotic and impossible that even if you’re sleeping in your own bed all you can do is close those eyes again and fall back to sleep. You cannot:
- Log onto your favourite social media site and soliloquise about your sadness;
- Go back to said site every two minutes to read the comments people have made, proceeding to then make your own comments on those comments;
- Leave the house and attend a social function only to spend the whole time sighing, “I don’t know why I bothered coming. I’m so depressed”.
Depression goes beyond an uncontrollable sadness. It’s something deep inside you that stops you from being you. It throws a huge stick into the gears of your being, causing you pain and suffering and hurt and sorrow. Sometimes when I’m feeling low, I end up spiralling further downward with the realisation that I cannot fix it nor can I stop it. It is a soul-sucking liche that wears a black hooded cloak and has no face, and unlike all those fantasy books, there is no magic sword that can drive it away.
The only weapon we have against it is time and release. Weathering that time might take some pharmaceuticals to get you through, and achieving that release might take hours of time talking about it, but those of us that struggle with real depression understand these are all tools to help ourselves. We don’t stand around waiting for other people to sympathize. We take action.
So for all those posers out there: if you stand there in your hipster shoes and proclaim to me how depressed you are, take no offense when I take action and smack your face. It is simply a test of my strength against your apathy.