I have a black dog

I have a black dog. This is how depression was explained in a video my mom showed to me. It was a great video really and explained depression rather well. I remember those feelings clearly… The feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. Feelings of sadness and loneliness, even in crowded rooms, perhaps more so in those crowded rooms. I never expected the world to be so colorless. I never expected that gray would be the color I related to most. I never wanted to make a fake self to present to the world. I never wanted, nor expected, to have a black dog called depression.

The way I saw the world was like the setting in the Hunger Games mixed with the setting of George Orwell’s 1984. I never thought I’d know what happiness is. Happiness eluded me, hiding behind the shadows… The tunnel I could never pass through to get to the light. I could never grasp how people were so happy in the world I saw. I realize now that it’s because the world is not how I saw it before, it’s beautiful despite some people who make me think back to the world I used to see.

I realized now that life is too short to be anything but happy. I don’t want to think back and remember the years I spent suspended in gray. I want to remember the time I made the freshman soccer team at my high school. I want to remember the time my best friend and I went tubing in the lake, even when I thought I’d have a panic attack, and feeling so accomplished afterwards that I didn’t. I want to remember the feeling I get when I take the soccer field… The excitement and determination as my fears leave me, which my best friend helped me with. I don’t want to only remember the feeling of loneliness as I cry in my bedroom alone. I don’t want to forget anything, but I don’t want to only remember my pain, I want to make memories that I can look back on and be happy about.

Depressed people may push you away, but it’s not because they are “becoming someone else” or because they are just being “hard to deal with”. There are many reasons they may push you away. Maybe because they don’t want to be a burden, or maybe they don’t feel like anyone could understand, or maybe even because they feel that you would be happier without them weighing you down. It depends on the person, but I know that I had multiple reasons for pushing people away. A lot of depressed people have no idea that they are depressed… They just know that their world is crumbling and nothing they do can stop or fix it. Many people do not want to tell people about their depression because they think people will see them differently.

In all honesty, people will see you differently and they can’t help it. But, the people who really know and care about you will look at you as they always have, perhaps with a little sadness that you endured so long alone, but they won’t look at you in a bad way at all. I know that people watch me a little more carefully now, attempting to assess my feelings, but only if I’m upset. It may be a little hard  at times to deal with their looks and glances, but just realize that they only want to make sure that you are not getting to the point of not being able to handle your depression. I get those looks a lot when I’m upset, but it reminds me that they will never let me go to that dark place alone again, and they only want to help. It reminds me that they love me despite my depression. They don’t hold it against me if I take my irritation out on them out of nowhere and always forgive me when I tell them I’m sorry about it all… They understand that I will always have those days now and then.

Depression never leaves… You just learn to live despite it. Depression is not something you deal with alone… You need help, support, maybe therapy, and most of all, you need to believe that you can move on. You are not doomed to a life of bland sadness where the sunshine doesn’t make you look outside and smile. Things get better, life becomes brighter, clearer, and holds more possibilities. Never forget that taking it one day at a time, one hour at a time, or one minute at a time, is more than okay. The baby steps are not nothing and the time it takes to make that move does not mean you aren’t working harder than you ever have.

Start by doing something small. Maybe going on a walk. Then do something small once a week, then maybe once a day, and then you can work towards the bigger things. Do what you need to take care of yourself. Make a playlist of your favorite music, read a book, take a break from people and just relax, take a nap, etc. Giving someone a 20 second hug releases a natural antidepressant in your body, so maybe find someone to hug. Sing a song. Do something that will not make you overwhelmed and go from there.

You are too amazing to live in a colorless world.

Click here is the link to the video about depression explained using a black dog.

-Noelle

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