First written on Facebook. Important.
Okay. I am linking to that new Hyperbole And A Half blog post about depression again mostly because people have been messaging me asking me if I have seen it. I have read it so many times that I already linked to it at least three times. But I am also linking to it because I have much more to say.
And again, I shall repeat what else I have said:
Here is something I hate about my major depressive episodes: The only emotion I feel, aside from flatness and trembling, is crying. I hate crying. I don't know if this is "normal within the parameters of various depressive illnesses."
I don't know if involuntarily crying means that I feel something good enough, or that it just means I am Processing Things.
The strangest, smallest things make me shed tears. I don't feel sad or upset. I merely start leaking tears and choking up. It bothers me. I want to feel Nothing. I am chemically and psychologically unable to feel Nothing. Even when I am in The Fog with The Voices. I feel Everything. Except that it is not really a Feeling, it is a Knowing. It is a Knowing that causes physiological changes to make it look like Feelings, such as crying. It is horrible. All I want is to Exist without Feeling for a little while, until something makes me laugh or cry or feel rage. Even then, I want analytically work with it, turn it over and over, tap it until ripples and tap it until cracks form, and then I would stick it under a microscope.
I cannot help but Feel and Know. It makes me cry. Why?
And, see, this is another thing: Every person with Medical Depression has different experiences. My experiences are not quite the same as someone else's. Often, I am able to hide it. Often, I am able to fake being happy and fine. And when someone suggests I act silly and do funny things and read/watch funny things to "clear the depression" (LOL awww), a part of my brain shifts forward and announces "Okay, let's do this. We don't have to truly feel it, but we can be superficial about it. Can't hurt, right?"
My husband knows exactly what to do. He has had experience in ways no one else has. If I tell my husband I am in a Depressive Episode, he simply offers me something he knows I like. Chocolate or a fruit snack or a cheese snack, or an episode of Futurama or My Little Pony. Brushing the cats. He doesn't even try to talk me through with platitudes or "Why don't you exercise more or laugh more?" He just smiles, says, "I love you" and hugs me when I want to be hugged. He waits for me to feel slightly more genuine and then very subtly helps keep me floating in Genuine Feelings until I am able stay there on my own.
When I cry during an episode of depression, it is not because I am sad or upset or distressed. It is because my Reservoir of Cope is being so overflowed that it can only leak out as "crying" which is not actually "crying because I am sad and also what is sad" but which is in fact "Something inside me is too big and too wild and too intense and it will release itself in whatever way it sees fit." Same with laughing. I don't want people to be fooled. It doesn't go away that easily. The writer of Hyperbole And A Half, Allie Brosh, went through it for over a year and a half and is still recovering. For many depression sufferers, it is known as Tuesday.
All I ask is for patience. Do what you will. Do it naturally. Laugh, play, be comedic. And I will put on that necessary costume, allow that coping part of my brain to shift forward, and I will laugh, play, and be comedic right along with you. Eventually - be it days or weeks or months - I will no longer need the costume as the coping part of my brain gently moves back to its home. I will feel Genuine if not Better. I will have honest full feelings of Not Depression At All.
(Not every depression patient can do this, though; be aware.)
But here is what I do not want: Platitudes. Blatant attempts to cure me with anything, be it herbs or drugs or foods or exercises. The analogy of the dead fish written in Allie's blog post.
And here is what I do want: Friendship. Plain old simple friendship. Love. Companionship. No need to help me heal myself. I will do that on my own because it is what I do.
Again, for reference...http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
I want to say "My clinical depression has slightly lifted because I had pep talks with friends and because I looked at adorable cat pictures on the internet!" I want to say "I feel slightly less horridly depressed because everyone tells me to refocus my feelings, since even Nothingness and Random Tears Without Distress are feelings!" I want to say so many things.
But right now, I just want to write stream of consciousness fiction until my amygdala screams and implodes. Maybe that will help lift the depression. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will trigger a seizure or two.
Maybe it will turn all these Wait Are These Actual Emotions? into Real Emotions! that I can have honest reactions to, beyond my Reservoir of Cope being so overflowed that it can only leak out as "crying" which is not actually "crying because I am sad and also what is sad I don't know" but which is in fact "Something inside me is too big and too wild and too intense and it will release itself in whatever way it sees fit."
And so, I will continue to write stream of consciousness, and I will continue to reply to people who tell me "Just smile! Just cheer up! Life is beautiful!" with gentle headpats and "Aww, you are so adorable, you think you're antidepressants!"
Eventually, something will happen. Something will push me though. That always happens. I just need to look for it and hold onto it in a long, whimpering hug, until it makes me feel myself again.http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html