Don’t tell me depression is a selfish disease

‘You don’t understand what is going on in my head’

One second you’re with your best friends laying out, eating pizza and laughing about your embarrassing drunk stories. The next second, you are surrounded by this heavy, inescapable shadow that attaches to you like the ex you never wanted to see again.

You have no control over this darkness. It comes when you least expect it. You can be in your strongest moments and it hits you like a tidal wave. No one and nothing can help you escape – not even you can. You start crying in the bathroom, you slice your body to pieces and you convince yourself you’re worthless – that no one deserves to deal with you and you are unlovable.

Depression. The world’s most underrated disease. And let me tell you something: you do not get to talk down to people suffering from depression because you think we are acting unreasonable. You don’t understand what is going on in my head, just like you don’t know the pain a cancer patient goes through until you’ve been in their place.

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This disease has haunted some of us for years, some of us for only months and others for their whole lives. But without a doubt, being told depression is a selfish disease is one of the most ignorant things a person has ever said to me.

I was told the thoughts I was having were selfish and it was ridiculous of me to feel this way. When you’re told this enough times, you begin to believe it. Personally, it led me to believe there was something darker going on inside me. Not only was I having thoughts of self-harm, self-hate and self-doubt, but I also started believing I was the worst person I could have ever turned out to be.

How could I have these thoughts when I have such a loving family, attend a wonderful college and have awesome friends? Who was I to be depressed and have depressing thoughts? I had it good, right? Yes, and knowing that made things worse.

Depression is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life. I fight myself daily. I doubt myself with every decision I make. I beat myself down just to have to turn right around and pick myself back up again.

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I imagine death at least once a day. There is no physical evidence that warns people I have a disease – therefore, no one knows I deal with it unless I tell them. I try not to wear it on my sleeve, which is probably the hardest part of the disease.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

I’m fine. I have yelled at myself in my head for a solid 45 minutes because I can’t make myself happy. Why can’t I make myself happy? Will this be a forever thing? Maybe? Probably. I don’t want to live with this forever. I don’t want to fight this bullshit anymore. I’m out.

Sound dramatic? Yeah, I agree. But let me put it to you this way: there’s an angel on one of my shoulders saying “you are awesome!” and “you have everything you need to be happy!” And then there’s my good friend on the other shoulder telling me the angel is lying and I don’t deserve anything. This banter goes on 24/7. I am not over-exaggerating.

I understand trying to figure out depression when you don’t have it is like trying to figure out what the hell is going on in a thermodynamics class and when you’re just a Business major. There really is no way for you to understand it, and you shouldn’t try – that’s annoying as hell.

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I have hit rock bottom more than a few times, and the only thing that got me through was myself. As weird as this sounds, I am the only one who can pull myself out when I start drowning. I have been through some shit and have gotten myself out of some shit and I am not embarrassed. Because of this disease, I am one of the strongest people I know and I can walk through life a little bit easier.

It only pushes me to be a stronger person today than I was yesterday. I challenge you to love on someone today – show them a love they’ve never seen before. Even if they don’t look like they need it, they will appreciate it.

Our goal should be to make this world a little more loving than it was yesterday. Start today.

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