Telling me to "cheer up", "look at all you have" or "tomorrow will be better" isn't going to change anything. Using "tough love" and telling me to "pull it together" or "stop being dramatic" also isn't going to change anything. You can't talk me into being happy.
Depression is not an emotion.
Though depression manifests as a complex series of emotions, it is not. It is an illness.
When I am in the midst of a depressive episode I can not see the forest for the trees. I feel like I am being crushed from the inside out. My thoughts and emotions are irrational. I am full of self-doubt and loathing. The chemicals in my brain no longer function properly and often leave me a sad trembling ball of hatred.
Depression can take on so many physical characteristics. The worst of which for me is the feeling that I can not function within my body. I stop eating, sleep more then I am awake and get severe headaches and body pains.
Sadly another manifestation of my personal depression is that I self-harm. I am lucky enough to be able to control it now, I have managed to keep my thoughts rational enough to prevent causing myself harm. I often do this by venting. Instead of turning inward, I turn outward. Most people don't understand this at all. They see it as drama. They see it as attention seeking. They dont see it as a safe substitution to cutting, drinking, or pill popping.
Though my issues are very real, I take them to a place far beyond what they need to be, seeing situations through desperate eyes and a heavy heart. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, no silver lining, only blackness. During my down times I dont have many choices that I am capable of making. If my mind had it's way I'd shut the door, sit in the dark, listen to angst filled music and get drunk while cutting myself. THIS is where I am given my only choice.
Even in complete darkness we are given choices.
I choose not to cut.
I choose to take care of my child.
I choose to cry, vent and sleep my way through the pain.
I choose to survive.
It has taken me years to get to this point. Many people will never get to this point. The demons are often stronger then the will to survive. I have lost friends to all the demons. Alcohol, drugs, self-destruction and suicide.
Reading back this all sounds so hard, clinical, emotionless. Here's the boiled down version...
I didn't choose to have depression. I didn't choose to have social anxiety issues. I don't know why I have them, what causes them or if they will ever go away. What I do know is that I hurt. I hurt from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Anyone who doesn't believe we have a soul, is wrong. I know this because I feel mine, in the absolute depths of my despair, I can feel it. It's worse then heartache, worse then loneliness, worse then any other pain I have felt.
It. Fucking. Hurts.
No one is perfect. We all have issues and demons to battle. Mine are demons in my head. I quell them with medication and time. I dont judge your demons, don't judge mine.
To paraphrase, "There but for the grace of a higher power, go I."