The basic principle in a fight is to incapacitate whoever you’re fighting while minimizing the damage done to yourself. To tackle both of these things at once, you first target those things which give them the ability to fight back. You want their defenses to be nonexistent, or at least so weak that they are a minor obstacle.
What people need to know about depression is that this is what it does with a horrifying efficiency. I’ve touched on this before; about how we didn’t choose to have this and we would throw it away if we could. In that same post I wrote that we will fight back, and I meant that. We do fight. We kick and scratch our way through the day in this inglorious battle. But you have to realize how hard that is when the enemy, depression, has attacked the part of you that you need in order to fight back. Depression is a disease of the mind, and it requires your mind to fight it. But your mind can’t function right because of the disease, so your ability to fight back is crippled. In other words it’s a vicious circle; we can’t fight back effectively because our minds are sick, and our minds are sick because we can’t fight back effectively.
Reasoning isn’t impossible, but it’s impaired. There becomes no middle ground in situations. We set up a dichotomy that imposes upon us the belief that we our performances are either perfect or a complete failure. Our ability to see the middle ground between the two is eliminated by depression. We fall one of two diametrically opposed ways. I think this is one of the things that makes depression so dangerous. We can’t see any amount of success unless it is total and complete. Unfortunately, that kind of perfect, undeniable success is rare to say the least. A good performance will be seen as bad because it isn’t great. A great performance will be seen as bad because it isn’t perfect. We judge most of what we do as a failure. Your encouragement will slam against our sickness and what will actually make it to our minds is the thought that your words are insincere and untrue; for we know that we are a failure and that you can’t possibly mean what you’re saying.
The paradox in this of course being that we seek out some confirmation that we have value, so we need that encouragement. It makes no sense. We need something that we will immediately deny and dismiss. Maybe that aspect is more just me. I know that many of us have no idea how to reason out compliments and encouragement. Depression attacks our ability to believe that we possess positivity. We think we know what’s going through your head. We don’t, of course. But in our minds, we know that your thoughts are full of disparaging notions about us.
I think part of the reason depressed people are tired a lot is, aside from sleep issues being a byproduct of depression, because we’re constantly engaged in the mental struggle. It’s real hard to constantly be fighting yourself and still go throughout your day. It’s exhausting.
At this point I want to say that I’m not trying to paint the depressed as some kind of hero. That we’re stronger than the rest of you because we bear this burden. That’s not what I’m trying to say at all. Just wanted to clarify. Your burden, whatever it is, has its own ramification and side effects that create your own unique and inconceivable struggle.
This is a constant and relentless fight. Our ability to reason out our value is heavily impaired, often to the point that the ability is in a state of complete breakdown. We have an unparalleled aptitude for picking out negativity and clinging to it. Our defense is impaired and breached. Depression is operating the parts of our mind that allows us to feel happiness, encouragement, and care. But we’re fighting. We’re always fighting it.