One of the reasons I was hesitant at first to start this blog, and to talk so much about things that are going on in my life, was the fear that my friends wouldn’t know how to act around me.
Anytime somebody says something about depression, anxiety, or mental illness in general it can be uncomfortable for those who either haven’t been through it themselves or who haven’t had a close relationship with somebody who has.
Because of this confusion it can sometimes seem easier to just stay away from that person.
I mean, it makes sense. If you haven’t known anybody who is depressed (or who hasn’t opened up about it) you may only know what you see on TV.
The depressed character is always the one who blows up the building, brings a gun to school, or stabs his girlfriend. It makes sense that you might worry about saying the wrong thing.
But if people don’t start speaking up nothing is ever going to change. People going through mental illness will still be too scared to open up, and this incorrect image will continue to make life more difficult.
So what should you know about me?
I’m not crazy…I’m insecure.
I wasn’t born hating myself. Over the years I’ve simply trained my brain to think of myself in an incorrect way.
Instead of seeing my qualities as good I started seeing them as bad. Instead of focusing on my accomplishments I’d focus on the accomplishments of others and how they were better than mine.
After years of this it just became the way I live my life. Now that I’m able to recognize it I can finally get the help I need to start retraining my brain.
And this “help” isn’t anything super intense or mysterious. I just talk with a counselor periodically. I’m able to talk about how things are going and there’s somebody there listening and responding to how I feel.
While counselors/therapists are professionals, and I’ll write more in the future about why I think more people should talk to them, so much of what they do for me can be done by a friend who is willing to listen.
So just be my friend. I don’t need any special treatment or a bubble to keep me (or you) safe.
I get depressed because of what my brain tells me, not because of what you tell me.
Life can be hard. It’s hard for all of us. Sometimes after years of letting the wind blow us off course we need some help getting back on track. But don’t we all go through that at some point in our life?
All it takes is a little understanding.
You can’t truly help somebody else until you understand what they’re going through. And that doesn’t mean you need to go through it yourself. It just means you took the time to listen.