Depression is not Sadness

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Growing up, I never understand why I liked the feeling of pain. I couldn’t comprehend why as a child instead of asking for a hug I would spend hours banging rocks against my arms trying to break the bones so somebody could see the pain and acknowledge me. My first suicide attempt was when I was in the 4th grade and my self harm began years before that. I was a kid who truly believed that I had nothing to offer this world and to this day, I criticize the way I looked and acted as a child because the idea that I was something beautiful and innocent at any point in my life is hard for me to accept. I have struggled with depression my whole life and throughout extensive therapy, I have learned that I have struggled with disordered eating since I was a child and within the past five years it has turned into a very serious eating disorder that almost took my life. I am a sick person and honestly, I am terrified of where this illness is going to take me. I want to speak up and tell somebody how I am feeling but every time I open my mouth, the fear of not taking my feelings seriously silences me and forces me to carry this illness a lot on my own.

I get a lot of bullshit responses when I tell people how I am feeling. “You have to try harder” “You are doing nothing to help yourself” “You need to get over it” “Sarah, you just need to put yourself out there”. When those things are said it completely minimizes how I am feeling because those phrases or phrases like that come off as this is just something I need to snap out of and it makes me feel as though it is all my fault. Almost as if I woke up one day and was like “I really think I want to struggle with not trying to kill myself every time I see a recent picture of me. That would be swell.” I don’t want this and I am trying. This is not a funk or me feeling sad and sorry for myself, this is a mental illness.

People put depression in the same category of sadness. Which is fair, the word depression seems to be a pretty solid synonym for sad. But sadness is an emotion that we all feel, sometimes for a specific reason and then we have our gloomy days. Sadness isn’t something that is always temporary, each of us will have unpleasant moments were our body’s natural response is to feel depressed. Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion that everyone will experience and just like any emotion, it will pass.

Depression, on the other hand, is so much more than feeling that passes. It stems from a normal emotion and through the chemical makeup in our brains that normal emotion is processed abnormally and becomes out of control. It’s not something that is occasional either. Depression is spending every night for years crying yourself to sleep, and it’s a hopelessness that weighs so heavily on you that you can feel like the best thing you can do to benefit the world is to not be in it. Depression is having a self hatred that causes you to not accept the love other’s give you and feel angry that they are even wasting their time on a person like you. Having this disorder isn’t just a feeling that passes, it’s a being that lives inside of you.

I am sick, I haven’t given up and I would appreciate to be listened to. If I could just get over it, I would.

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