Saturday, October 20, 2012

Depression for the Optimist

I think of so many things and remember so few. 

This morning I lay in bed taking an extremely detailed mental and emotional tour of Dorothy and Pud Frazee’s house.  They were the two sisters who lived next door when I grew up.  Then, without opening my eyes, I tried to remember if the house I live in now has an upstairs.  It does not.

It may be some medication I’m taking or early onset Alzheimer’s, but more than likely it’s this damned chronic depression I live with.  Are you tired of hearing about it?  Gee, I’m sorry.

I learned somewhere in school that the trademarks of depression are hopelessness, haplessness, helplessness.  I think I’ll write my own book about depression and call it Depression for Optimists. 

Depression, I’ve found is much more than being sad.  But it’s one of those diseases that everyone and his uncle has The Ultimate Cure for.  That is, if everyone and his uncle believe it even exists.  Lots of people and their uncles still believe it is laziness or sin or a character fault or all of the above.  If they do acknowledge that depression exists, they really want you to just get over it.  Pull yourself up, think happy thoughts, get a different job, pray more or differently, blah, blah, blah.  When in reality, these same people would probably not tell the same thing to a diabetic.

Oh, I’ll talk to you and probably make you laugh.   Lots of days I’ll put one foot in front of the other.  I’ll think very happy thoughts with you.  And when you leave, I’ll go to bed and cry.  Not about anything, except maybe what a total fraud I am and the fact that I have no idea what I did yesterday or what day of the week it is now. 

People tell me I’m not depressed.  That’s always fun.  I really want to believe them.  They say, “When Uncle Theo was depressed, he yelled at everyone.  You don’t yell at everyone.”  Or “I read a book about depression and it said that depressed people don’t talk much or write or smile at all.”   I read that book, too and I treated your Uncle Theo in therapy for a year and a half. 

People ask, “Why are you depressed,” and I answer because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain.  I’m not grieving for something or someone, though it feels like that a bit.  I have absolutely no reasons to be depressed that come from the outside.  I have enough of everything.  I’m blessed beyond any human comprehension.  And so I smile.

I didn’t used to be such a fraud.  But I learned to be because I really don’t want people I love to hurt, and when I’m depressed, people I love hurt. 

So what would help?  I really don’t know.  If I knew I’d surely do it.  I reckon there are lots of people with this disease who aren’t as optimistic as I am.  They probably don’t write blogs about it.   You see, I’m an expert.  I know I’ll still have periods of life when I feel good.   People with depression who aren’t as expert at it as I am, don’t know necessarily know this.  If you love someone like that, remind them often.  A little part of them might believe you.