The over-diagnosis of depression, and people using the term to describe how they feel when they brake their fucking fingernail is a slap in the face to people who live with the disease.
Here are some of the things depression does to me:
I take a drink of something and a full 60 seconds later, I realize the drink is still in my mouth. I completely forget to swallow it. 95% of the time, I swallow it as soon as I realize it’s still in my mouth, but other times I can’t. It’s not painful, or unpleasant in any way when I swallow, but sometimes I just can’t do it.
I often sit and stare for hours at a time. I become so wrapped up in my thoughts that when I finally come back to reality, I realize my mouth was hanging open for an hour or more. This happens a lot.
Sometimes, I am completely unable to move. It’s like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman says, “Wiggle your big toe.” I come out of one of my previously mentioned staring fits, and I want to change positions, or go to the bathroom, or whatever, but I don’t move. I think, “Lift your hand off the desk,” but my arm is just like, “Nope.” It usually takes a full 3-5 minutes before I convince my arm to move, but sometimes I slip back into another staring fit.
There are strange moments when I start to groan. It happened last week while I was in the middle of reaching for my toolbox. I lost the ability to move, becoming a rag doll draped over the left side of my chair. I stayed like that for 30 minutes, mind blank, groaning repeatedly, completely unaware of my body. I felt like an injured animal, so hurt and scared that all I could do was make this pitiful noise.
Depression also gives me constant thoughts of suicide and anhedonia. Both make it nigh on impossible to feel any pleasure. Experiencing pleasure is necessary to human functioning. Without positive reinforcement, there is no motivation. No happiness at a job well done, no feeling of accomplishment, no desire to watch TV, play games, engage in hobbies, develop friendships, sustain relationships. Nothing.
That is depression, and living with it’s effects makes it beyond infuriating to hear people talk about how depressed they are that their car broke down, or their damn dishwasher is broken. And, the diagnoses of depression and prescribing Prozac and Ativan because someone’s pet hamster died, or because they have inoperable armpit sweat is not helping matters. This careless and flippant attitude is damaging and insulting to the people that really are depressed, the people that have demonstrably impaired brain functioning.
I understand situational depression happens, and it can be just as debilitating as chronic depression, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the, “OMG im so totally depressed bcuz I cant hang out wit mah gurl friend 2 nite,” crowd. Yeah, stop using that word, you sniveling little shit. You are not depressed. You are upset.
This is why people scoff at depression. They don’t recognize it as a debilitating condition. They see it as a joke. A weakness. A character flaw. A condition that can be cured by a happy song and a new sweater. And, if a person stays depressed, well, that person is just lazy. They’re “…using depression as an excuse to be a worthless piece of shit,” as one fine gentlemen said to me recently. Thank’s buddy. You really made a point there.