Depression is often thought to be the scars of a horrible experience. And that is in no way false. Depression can certainly be constructed in response to a traumatic event. This is not always the case though. My own life has not had any dramatic hardship (outside of my depression). All in all my life is pretty blessed. I haven’t faced any great loss or injury, and yet this disease still exists very strongly in me.
I was told once that I have no reason to feel this way; that my pain shouldn’t be this great ordeal because there are others who have been through much worse. I feel guilt about that. I feel guilty that there are people who have been through harrowing and awful experiences, and yet I’m the one who is chronically sad and angry. It doesn’t make sense to me, so I know it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Genetics just seems such a poor excuse for this sort of pain, but it’s the only one I have. It’s the only one a lot of us have.
Telling us that, because we don’t have that one defining moment of trauma, our pain is not relevant only serves to deepen our despair. I think what a lot of people, myself included, forget is that just because someone else has great pain or a more specific reason for that pain, it does not diminish our own feelings. Look at it this way. If you broke your finger, it would hurt. If someone is shot, it’s a good chance that will hurt a lot worse. Does the fact that they’re feeling more pain mean that your pain is any less? No. You still feel the same amount of pain. The other person might have a grievous injury, but that doesn’t mean that your broken finger doesn’t hurt. I think that’s how a lot of people who came by depression genetically are looked at. People tend to think that because we weren’t “shot”, we have no reason to feel pain or we have no right to lament our situation.
Let me be very clear depression brought on by a certain traumatic experience is horrible, and I don’t wish it on anyone. It’s painful and haunting. I don’t want anyone to read this and think that I’m trying to downplay the pain felt by those who have experience based depression.
Depression with no definite genesis, other than the unfortunate genetic make up we possess, has the potential to ruin a person. Cases vary in severity of course. However, there is no reason to believe that most severe cases are reserved for those who can trace their depression to an event. I have genetically generated depression and my case was diagnosed as severe. Do you think I enjoy having this disease or that I enjoy hearing things like “Why are you depressed? Your life isn’t bad.”? There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish this didn’t exist in me. But it does. And it’s not going anywhere.
We don’t need you to understand it. Most of us are still trying to wrap our heads around it ourselves. We know that it doesn’t make sense and that our lives haven’t been greatly afflicted in some tangible and visible way. You don’t need to remind us that we don’t have what you deem a “good reason” to be this way. With or without your seal of approval we’re going to continue to be this way.
I’ll say this again, and I’ll probably say this a lot over the course of these series of writings: we did not choose this. So don’t downplay what we’re going through just because you don’t understand it or you don’t think that it’s an adequate cause and effect. Just be there for us. I promise that no matter how depression is formed, it’s a hellish experience. It’s a constant battle, and it doesn’t discriminate against those who have a perfectly good life. So please be understanding towards the fact that this is just something we have to deal with. It’s manageable and it’s beatable, but it’s not going away. You’re help and support would be greatly appreciated, even if you don’t understand what’s going through our heads.