What to do when...aka (deep breath, be brave, S).

Posted by Sherry Roit on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Under: Personal



What do you do when you feel…well, you can’t even describe what you feel, not adequately. How can people help when it appears to them you don’t want their help, or can’t tell them how to help, or they don’t know what to do, regardless?

Sometimes help is simply about listening. Being. Platitudes may serve to stoke resentment and more depression, cause a person to think their feelings are dismissed, even when that isn’t the intention. They hurt, because out there, in the wide world, people DO use them, these weapons of ignorance.

“She’s successful and has a great boyfriend. What’s to be depressed about?”

“She’s so pretty, she’s got it all! You know, some people have it REALLY bad, THEY have a real reason to be depressed!”

“It could be worse.”

“At least you…”

“But you look so happy.”

I could go on. I might, later in this stream. Why do people get depressed, even the ones you think have it all, and so can’t grasp why? Oh, we could go on and on with all the psychological reasons for that, all so individual – but there it is RIGHT THERE. It is INDIVIDUAL. It’s not about being greedy (what more do you want!?) and people with nothing are sometimes happier than those with everything.

It’s PSYCHOLOGY. It’s not something fixed with money or houses or…whatever. It can be helped with understanding and love. It’s not easy for the friends and partner of someone suffering, I know. They feel there must be something they are doing wrong, perhaps, because not even they can make you feel better. Except see, it’s not about them (you) or anyone else. It’s about the depression.

I’ve realized I probably have it. I don’t think I have it ALL the time, but it’s like the ebb and flow of tides. Maybe it’s like being an addict, too? Even when you’re “clean” it’s always there in the background, threatening to toss you off the wagon? I don’t know, I’m working this out as I write, as a sort of self-therapy.

I wonder that it happens even more to people with open channels, as it were. Even when I try to distance myself, I feel things deeply, other people’s feelings. I can walk into a store and pick up on vibes. I have too much empathy in the sense I feel raw at times. Even when I think I’m protected, I realize later I’ve been affected. So is the depression all from within me, or is it also a reaction to everything around me? And some days I handle it, some I don’t?

“Don’t take it so personally, I’m sure they didn’t mean…”

I’m sure that many times, people don’t mean to hurt others. Or mean things the way they are taken. And while the listener should strive to be reasonable, the listener should also not be dismissed because they had a FEELING you didn’t expect. Sometimes we need to feel what we feel, and we’ll work through it, and hopefully things iron out.

“Don’t be sad.”

I want to be sad right now, okay? Language matters. Every day phrases, if you look closely at them, consider all angles, are sometimes the WORST thing to pop out of someone’s mouth at certain times. Again, they may mean well, but let’s think about this…would you feel your sadness was dismissed?

“Don’t cry.”

I WANT to cry. I NEED to cry.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? These are tame, seemingly innocuous phrases. There are others. Do you ever wonder where they came from? I don’t simply mean as in, who was the first person to utter such words. Not etymology. Where, INSIDE that person, was it coming from? A need to help, not having other words, or…a self-centered need to stop what was going on because it made THEM uncomfortable?

Do you follow? It’s okay to be uncomfortable, by the way. I’d be a hypocrite to suggest otherwise. I’m uncomfortable, too. Sometimes you just have to BE uncomfortable, and allow someone else to BE UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s not about your (or mine, I’ve been guilty) discomfort, not when you’re supposed to be there to help/comfort that person. Or even if you just happen to witness someone breaking down. Or not even breaking down.

“I’m having a shitty day.” … “Well, it could be worse.”

Perhaps so. Right now, it feels PRETTY FUCKING BAD.

Maybe I don’t want to hear about someone who has it worse than me, right now. It’s not a contest. Maybe I don’t want you to regale me with “Oh? Yeah, I know, let me tell you about MY shitty day…”

NO.

Maybe later, when it’s about YOU.

Hey, I’ve been guilty. We’re conditioned. And to be fair, you don’t always know just how deeply that person is feeling what they are feeling. People are very good at pretending. At hiding. They feel they must, to go on in the world, put on a brave face. At work, and the gas station, wherever. Because gods forbid you stand there and break down and cry.

Because we’re conditioned. Gods forbid you might make someone uncomfortable with your FEELINGS. Your tears. Or maybe you’re afraid you’ll be ridiculed. Maybe you were raised to be stoic. Maybe you’re a MAN and BOYS DO NOT CRY.  Successful women don’t cry, otherwise they’re just GIRLS after all. You’re either a bitch or a girl with too many feelings. Men are ‘pussies’ or “not real men” or assholes for complaining when they have what you think should be good enough.

Bullshit.

And have you considered that these people striving to have it all, are compensating for “that thing” they don’t have? And they can’t fill that hole with STUFF, and they may know this, but it distracts them from THE BAD FEELINGS.

For a short time. So they keep achieving. Others, we lay down and die, as it were. One starts to wallow. One avoids. Or wallow AND avoid by other means…

Depression. So hard to describe, and can’t really pinpoint where it begins. But is it recognizable when you feel that crushing weight in your chest. When you face just how many days you’ve actually been listless, felt hopeless, felt like WHY BOTHER, felt like nothing matters, hate your body or this or that or the other, but feel hopeless and pointless about doing ANYTHING ABOUT IT because it doesn’t matter, doesn’t work, nobody cares, who cares.

Wanting things to be better but feeling hopeless/helpless/ to make them better…UGH, what a horrible place to be. Nihilism is not a good place to dwell.

When you realize you are, unintentionally, pushing away people who love you. Who DO CARE. Who don’t know how to help you but they really, really want to.  It’s not always lashing out. It’s often a wall. You construct a wall…

But we don’t really want pity, either. It’s not the same as understanding (or at least attempting to understand). I don’t want pity, anyway. It’s a tough nut sometimes, because things FEEL like pats on the head when maybe they’re not intended. Or it feels like condescension. Even if it’s not. That’s why I say—

Sometimes you just have to BE there. Sometimes when someone says they want to be alone, they might not really want to be alone. Sometimes they do. But don’t go overboard with everyone, either. It doesn’t automatically mean OMG SUICIDE WATCH.

 It takes patience, to be sure. It takes a commitment. It takes love. It takes strength. Let them (me) borrow yours. Let them (me) vent and cry and pout and tantrum and sulk and be silent…all the things. Without recrimination. With the understanding it’s not about you. You didn’t break me. You aren’t a wizard and can’t wave a wand to fix it. It doesn’t make YOU a failure, either, anymore than I am a failure, even if it’s what I think of myself.

But know that you can tell me all day long how wonderful and special and loved I am, that this is the thing; It’s not a magic wand. I’m glad you feel this way. But it cannot make the darkness POOF go away. If I don’t believe it just then, of myself, no one else is going to convince me. And even if I want you to somehow be everything and fix it, I know that’s not fair. You can’t. It’s not fair.

“Maybe you should see a therapist.”

Maybe I hate that idea. Maybe I don’t want to tell a stranger this stuff, and PAY him/her to listen. Maybe I don’t HAVE the money for that, if I did want to. Maybe it makes me feel like rat in a cage. We are individual…it doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe I’ve had a pro try to talk to me and all I wanted to do was punch him in the face. In lieu of that, I refused to speak.

Oh yeah, that worked. I was 12, in a hospital for weeks. OF COURSE I WAS DEPRESSED. Duh. That was a more typical, “it’ll pass” sort of thing, because hello, child stuck in hospital. Leave. Me. Alone.

But even now, when I have a deeper depression, I think I still resent that. Oh, you think? I don’t like the idea of going to some clinical setting and…spilling. I am aware that sometimes one needs an unbiased opinion. But I don’t enjoy the idea of getting it in a sterile office from a stranger when it comes to my deepest feelings, and I don’t want them pried out of me, I don’t want the by-the-book questions about family and blah blah. Because it isn’t about them, for starters. I had a GREAT childhood, thank you very much.

Depression. People sweep it under a rug. Or people want to fix it, but it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for we who ever feel it, too. This isn’t “I’ve had a shitty day” stuff.

This is “my world is crushing me” stuff. And I am now about to do something I would NEVER EVER EVER do before, and I am going to share this in public. It’s a bit scary, and it’s more insight into who I am than I have EVER given anyone in public, EVER. But…maybe it’s therapy, sharing it, and not just writing it. I write stuff out often enough. Stuff I never share. Never expose myself that way. Not even to one single friend.

I’ll share because maybe someone else knows how this feels, and it will help them in some way. To know you’re not alone. Or if something in my streaming consciousness here strikes a chord, I’m glad. I’m not doing it for pity. I’m not doing it for anyone to try to fix me.

Just, perhaps, to help someone understand, who has never felt this way.  It also helps ME understand things, examine them more closely. It helps ME to remind myself that others go through shit and that I TOO, must practice compassion.

“This too, shall pass.”

I may tell you to fuck off if you say that. Nothing personal. But it’s a platitude.

I’m sure my world will brighten again, eventually. I mean, so far, it tends to go that way. Some deep, awful feeling weeks…maybe months this time, I admit. Though it sneaks up. It’s not just OMG END OF WORLD one day, boom, hey I’m depressed.

Reminds me. That’s the other thing. Being depressed doesn’t mean, as I touched on above when I mention suicide watch, that it’s oh so visibly dramatic and obvious. It doesn’t always mean a person is going to throw themselves off a roof, or would even attempt it. It might mean we live in some silent hell you never see. “Oh, she seemed fine when I saw her.”

Came full circle on that, I think. You don’t always see it. Sometimes because we don’t want you to. But it’s there. Wearing us down. Wearing us thin. If you know someone really well, I think you start to notice signs. If they’ve let you in at all…

“Be kind, always. For everyone is fighting a battle you cannot see.”

If you can’t be kind, well…be quiet. Or perhaps that word should really be, “compassionate.” Have some compassion for your fellow humans, even when you hate them (so to speak). It’s hard. I know. Because I often think I hate them.

But not really. I like individuals. I have that damn empathy. Depression often comes with an “I hate the world!” side dish. Because when all seems bleak, fuck those people, right? Why are they so MEAN TO ME! Why are they such ASSHOLES! Heck, when I’m depressed I may even come across as a whiny brat who wants EVERYTHING HER WAY. Because sure, it’s ALL ABOUT ME, those people are specifically trying to FUCK ME OVER.

Riiight. We’re self-centered, too. That’s not a dirty word. It’s a factual statement. Just like “self-esteem.”

 See, people don’t always “seem depressed” to you, because all you see is their anger. Trust me, that anger is generally part of a bigger issue. It’s not always that a person is “just an asshole, too.”

 

And…I’m spent.  I won’t edit hardly except for typos and such, because…here is your glimpse in the mind as it works in a natural state. Stream of consciousness. If I repeat, I repeat. I’d be lying to say I didn’t hope people comment. I feel VERY ALONE AND UNWANTED when people do not comment on anything I thought was important. (We’re afraid to look NEEDY OMG, not that.)

HOWEVER.

I do not want a pity comment. I only want what you FEEL. Not what you think you’re obligated to do.

 

If you read this far, thank you. Even if you just let me know you read it all, that would be something that meant a lot to me. To know I’m “heard.” Being a creative person (and there are studies that suggest we are more prone to depression, I think – I would say because we can be more emotional in the first place)? I always desire feedback of some sort. Isn’t it funny, that creative/emotional as I can be, I find it so difficult to share my PERSONAL emotions? Hmm…maybe that’s not so odd. We can express ourselves through art and words, hiding behind them, as it were…

-S

P.S.

I have such a huge amount of gratitude for my boyfriend, and his undying patience in these matters—his genuine attempts to fully understand. He has my heart. Always. No matter what life brings, it will never belong to anyone else. I don’t think it ever really did, before, either. <3

P.P.S  And Amanda Palmer. She shares, and it inspires me. She gets her haters for sharing, but she gets a lot of GOOD, and doesn’t let haters stop her. She knows it comes with. Doesn’t mean it never hurts her. Brave.

 


In : Personal 


Tags: depression 
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What to do when...aka (deep breath, be brave, S).

Posted by Sherry Roit on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Under: Personal



What do you do when you feel…well, you can’t even describe what you feel, not adequately. How can people help when it appears to them you don’t want their help, or can’t tell them how to help, or they don’t know what to do, regardless?

Sometimes help is simply about listening. Being. Platitudes may serve to stoke resentment and more depression, cause a person to think their feelings are dismissed, even when that isn’t the intention. They hurt, because out there, in the wide world, people DO use them, these weapons of ignorance.

“She’s successful and has a great boyfriend. What’s to be depressed about?”

“She’s so pretty, she’s got it all! You know, some people have it REALLY bad, THEY have a real reason to be depressed!”

“It could be worse.”

“At least you…”

“But you look so happy.”

I could go on. I might, later in this stream. Why do people get depressed, even the ones you think have it all, and so can’t grasp why? Oh, we could go on and on with all the psychological reasons for that, all so individual – but there it is RIGHT THERE. It is INDIVIDUAL. It’s not about being greedy (what more do you want!?) and people with nothing are sometimes happier than those with everything.

It’s PSYCHOLOGY. It’s not something fixed with money or houses or…whatever. It can be helped with understanding and love. It’s not easy for the friends and partner of someone suffering, I know. They feel there must be something they are doing wrong, perhaps, because not even they can make you feel better. Except see, it’s not about them (you) or anyone else. It’s about the depression.

I’ve realized I probably have it. I don’t think I have it ALL the time, but it’s like the ebb and flow of tides. Maybe it’s like being an addict, too? Even when you’re “clean” it’s always there in the background, threatening to toss you off the wagon? I don’t know, I’m working this out as I write, as a sort of self-therapy.

I wonder that it happens even more to people with open channels, as it were. Even when I try to distance myself, I feel things deeply, other people’s feelings. I can walk into a store and pick up on vibes. I have too much empathy in the sense I feel raw at times. Even when I think I’m protected, I realize later I’ve been affected. So is the depression all from within me, or is it also a reaction to everything around me? And some days I handle it, some I don’t?

“Don’t take it so personally, I’m sure they didn’t mean…”

I’m sure that many times, people don’t mean to hurt others. Or mean things the way they are taken. And while the listener should strive to be reasonable, the listener should also not be dismissed because they had a FEELING you didn’t expect. Sometimes we need to feel what we feel, and we’ll work through it, and hopefully things iron out.

“Don’t be sad.”

I want to be sad right now, okay? Language matters. Every day phrases, if you look closely at them, consider all angles, are sometimes the WORST thing to pop out of someone’s mouth at certain times. Again, they may mean well, but let’s think about this…would you feel your sadness was dismissed?

“Don’t cry.”

I WANT to cry. I NEED to cry.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? These are tame, seemingly innocuous phrases. There are others. Do you ever wonder where they came from? I don’t simply mean as in, who was the first person to utter such words. Not etymology. Where, INSIDE that person, was it coming from? A need to help, not having other words, or…a self-centered need to stop what was going on because it made THEM uncomfortable?

Do you follow? It’s okay to be uncomfortable, by the way. I’d be a hypocrite to suggest otherwise. I’m uncomfortable, too. Sometimes you just have to BE uncomfortable, and allow someone else to BE UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s not about your (or mine, I’ve been guilty) discomfort, not when you’re supposed to be there to help/comfort that person. Or even if you just happen to witness someone breaking down. Or not even breaking down.

“I’m having a shitty day.” … “Well, it could be worse.”

Perhaps so. Right now, it feels PRETTY FUCKING BAD.

Maybe I don’t want to hear about someone who has it worse than me, right now. It’s not a contest. Maybe I don’t want you to regale me with “Oh? Yeah, I know, let me tell you about MY shitty day…”

NO.

Maybe later, when it’s about YOU.

Hey, I’ve been guilty. We’re conditioned. And to be fair, you don’t always know just how deeply that person is feeling what they are feeling. People are very good at pretending. At hiding. They feel they must, to go on in the world, put on a brave face. At work, and the gas station, wherever. Because gods forbid you stand there and break down and cry.

Because we’re conditioned. Gods forbid you might make someone uncomfortable with your FEELINGS. Your tears. Or maybe you’re afraid you’ll be ridiculed. Maybe you were raised to be stoic. Maybe you’re a MAN and BOYS DO NOT CRY.  Successful women don’t cry, otherwise they’re just GIRLS after all. You’re either a bitch or a girl with too many feelings. Men are ‘pussies’ or “not real men” or assholes for complaining when they have what you think should be good enough.

Bullshit.

And have you considered that these people striving to have it all, are compensating for “that thing” they don’t have? And they can’t fill that hole with STUFF, and they may know this, but it distracts them from THE BAD FEELINGS.

For a short time. So they keep achieving. Others, we lay down and die, as it were. One starts to wallow. One avoids. Or wallow AND avoid by other means…

Depression. So hard to describe, and can’t really pinpoint where it begins. But is it recognizable when you feel that crushing weight in your chest. When you face just how many days you’ve actually been listless, felt hopeless, felt like WHY BOTHER, felt like nothing matters, hate your body or this or that or the other, but feel hopeless and pointless about doing ANYTHING ABOUT IT because it doesn’t matter, doesn’t work, nobody cares, who cares.

Wanting things to be better but feeling hopeless/helpless/ to make them better…UGH, what a horrible place to be. Nihilism is not a good place to dwell.

When you realize you are, unintentionally, pushing away people who love you. Who DO CARE. Who don’t know how to help you but they really, really want to.  It’s not always lashing out. It’s often a wall. You construct a wall…

But we don’t really want pity, either. It’s not the same as understanding (or at least attempting to understand). I don’t want pity, anyway. It’s a tough nut sometimes, because things FEEL like pats on the head when maybe they’re not intended. Or it feels like condescension. Even if it’s not. That’s why I say—

Sometimes you just have to BE there. Sometimes when someone says they want to be alone, they might not really want to be alone. Sometimes they do. But don’t go overboard with everyone, either. It doesn’t automatically mean OMG SUICIDE WATCH.

 It takes patience, to be sure. It takes a commitment. It takes love. It takes strength. Let them (me) borrow yours. Let them (me) vent and cry and pout and tantrum and sulk and be silent…all the things. Without recrimination. With the understanding it’s not about you. You didn’t break me. You aren’t a wizard and can’t wave a wand to fix it. It doesn’t make YOU a failure, either, anymore than I am a failure, even if it’s what I think of myself.

But know that you can tell me all day long how wonderful and special and loved I am, that this is the thing; It’s not a magic wand. I’m glad you feel this way. But it cannot make the darkness POOF go away. If I don’t believe it just then, of myself, no one else is going to convince me. And even if I want you to somehow be everything and fix it, I know that’s not fair. You can’t. It’s not fair.

“Maybe you should see a therapist.”

Maybe I hate that idea. Maybe I don’t want to tell a stranger this stuff, and PAY him/her to listen. Maybe I don’t HAVE the money for that, if I did want to. Maybe it makes me feel like rat in a cage. We are individual…it doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe I’ve had a pro try to talk to me and all I wanted to do was punch him in the face. In lieu of that, I refused to speak.

Oh yeah, that worked. I was 12, in a hospital for weeks. OF COURSE I WAS DEPRESSED. Duh. That was a more typical, “it’ll pass” sort of thing, because hello, child stuck in hospital. Leave. Me. Alone.

But even now, when I have a deeper depression, I think I still resent that. Oh, you think? I don’t like the idea of going to some clinical setting and…spilling. I am aware that sometimes one needs an unbiased opinion. But I don’t enjoy the idea of getting it in a sterile office from a stranger when it comes to my deepest feelings, and I don’t want them pried out of me, I don’t want the by-the-book questions about family and blah blah. Because it isn’t about them, for starters. I had a GREAT childhood, thank you very much.

Depression. People sweep it under a rug. Or people want to fix it, but it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for we who ever feel it, too. This isn’t “I’ve had a shitty day” stuff.

This is “my world is crushing me” stuff. And I am now about to do something I would NEVER EVER EVER do before, and I am going to share this in public. It’s a bit scary, and it’s more insight into who I am than I have EVER given anyone in public, EVER. But…maybe it’s therapy, sharing it, and not just writing it. I write stuff out often enough. Stuff I never share. Never expose myself that way. Not even to one single friend.

I’ll share because maybe someone else knows how this feels, and it will help them in some way. To know you’re not alone. Or if something in my streaming consciousness here strikes a chord, I’m glad. I’m not doing it for pity. I’m not doing it for anyone to try to fix me.

Just, perhaps, to help someone understand, who has never felt this way.  It also helps ME understand things, examine them more closely. It helps ME to remind myself that others go through shit and that I TOO, must practice compassion.

“This too, shall pass.”

I may tell you to fuck off if you say that. Nothing personal. But it’s a platitude.

I’m sure my world will brighten again, eventually. I mean, so far, it tends to go that way. Some deep, awful feeling weeks…maybe months this time, I admit. Though it sneaks up. It’s not just OMG END OF WORLD one day, boom, hey I’m depressed.

Reminds me. That’s the other thing. Being depressed doesn’t mean, as I touched on above when I mention suicide watch, that it’s oh so visibly dramatic and obvious. It doesn’t always mean a person is going to throw themselves off a roof, or would even attempt it. It might mean we live in some silent hell you never see. “Oh, she seemed fine when I saw her.”

Came full circle on that, I think. You don’t always see it. Sometimes because we don’t want you to. But it’s there. Wearing us down. Wearing us thin. If you know someone really well, I think you start to notice signs. If they’ve let you in at all…

“Be kind, always. For everyone is fighting a battle you cannot see.”

If you can’t be kind, well…be quiet. Or perhaps that word should really be, “compassionate.” Have some compassion for your fellow humans, even when you hate them (so to speak). It’s hard. I know. Because I often think I hate them.

But not really. I like individuals. I have that damn empathy. Depression often comes with an “I hate the world!” side dish. Because when all seems bleak, fuck those people, right? Why are they so MEAN TO ME! Why are they such ASSHOLES! Heck, when I’m depressed I may even come across as a whiny brat who wants EVERYTHING HER WAY. Because sure, it’s ALL ABOUT ME, those people are specifically trying to FUCK ME OVER.

Riiight. We’re self-centered, too. That’s not a dirty word. It’s a factual statement. Just like “self-esteem.”

 See, people don’t always “seem depressed” to you, because all you see is their anger. Trust me, that anger is generally part of a bigger issue. It’s not always that a person is “just an asshole, too.”

 

And…I’m spent.  I won’t edit hardly except for typos and such, because…here is your glimpse in the mind as it works in a natural state. Stream of consciousness. If I repeat, I repeat. I’d be lying to say I didn’t hope people comment. I feel VERY ALONE AND UNWANTED when people do not comment on anything I thought was important. (We’re afraid to look NEEDY OMG, not that.)

HOWEVER.

I do not want a pity comment. I only want what you FEEL. Not what you think you’re obligated to do.

 

If you read this far, thank you. Even if you just let me know you read it all, that would be something that meant a lot to me. To know I’m “heard.” Being a creative person (and there are studies that suggest we are more prone to depression, I think – I would say because we can be more emotional in the first place)? I always desire feedback of some sort. Isn’t it funny, that creative/emotional as I can be, I find it so difficult to share my PERSONAL emotions? Hmm…maybe that’s not so odd. We can express ourselves through art and words, hiding behind them, as it were…

-S

P.S.

I have such a huge amount of gratitude for my boyfriend, and his undying patience in these matters—his genuine attempts to fully understand. He has my heart. Always. No matter what life brings, it will never belong to anyone else. I don’t think it ever really did, before, either. <3

P.P.S  And Amanda Palmer. She shares, and it inspires me. She gets her haters for sharing, but she gets a lot of GOOD, and doesn’t let haters stop her. She knows it comes with. Doesn’t mean it never hurts her. Brave.

 


In : Personal 


Tags: depression 
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