Not Just Sad
Depression, and what it ain't.
“I am so sick of people saying they’re depressed! That mess is not real!”
That is an actual quote from someone that I had grown to respect as they spoke to my class. I sat, numb, because in my head there was an all-out war happening, and it wasn’t just two sides.
Nah, they don’t mean that.
Is that true? Am I overdoing it?
HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT FOOLISHNESS!
Breathe, Laquasha, breathe.
Those are just a few thoughts that ran through my head in about 7 seconds flat. I was trying to control my facial expression, my shaking leg, and the tears threatening to fall. All of that, and I had to remember to breathe.
When was the last time you had to remind yourself to breathe? Well, for me, when I am experiencing an episode, recognize a trigger, or feeling overwhelmed, I have to. This is pretty much a daily thing. But, up until this point, I had never heard anyone in person say something like, like this.
Truth is, though, this isn’t as uncommon as I try to make myself think it is. The line between depression and sadness is blurring more and more, at least in popular culture, until the word just becomes null and void.
Until it doesn’t have a meaning.
Until it has the wrong meaning.
The word depression has become synonymous to sadness, and quite frankly, it makes me sick. It’s not the same. Yes, there are similarities; more often than not people who are depressed are indeed sad. But, it doesn’t always work in the inverse.
It seems as if nowadays everybody is “depressed.” That makes me feel some type. Self-diagnosed depression is dangerous; if one truly is depressed and not getting the help they need or one is not but is claiming to be, the seriousness of the former can be overshadowed by the latter because of, well, a Facebook post.
As a Christian, I often struggle with the fact that I have been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety. The “why me” questions are not infrequent, and seeking help from other Christians is — well — difficult, to say the least.
On the natural level, scientists and doctors have recognized depression and anxiety to be legitimate illnesses that occur in the brain and, depending on the case, negatively impact the lives of those that they treat. On a spiritual level, they are seen as spirits, instruments of Satan to distract and remove one from their purpose.
And then there is me, in the middle of medicine and miracles. Who, what, do I believe?
I believe that God can do all things but fail. I also believe that my fight with depression is real, and it is ill-informed and disrespectful for anyone to say that it is not.
But what do you do when the line is so blurred that your truth is falsified by everyone with a social media page?
I recognize that everyone will not understand who I am and what I deal with. I also recognize that at an initial glance, I look like I am just fine. Actually, past an initial glance into full out friendship-relationship-family-hangout-work-school-church it looks like I’m just fine, or even better than fine. But it is still real, and it is as real as I am not fine.
If I responded to every naysayer, every person that has refused to understand the experienced of those with depression, every person that posts on facebook that they are “so depressed” with no actual sound backing, I would not have time to remember to breathe. But, if everyone who either doesn’t believe that depression is “real” or uses the word freely would take a few seconds — just a few — to ask a question, or Google, or just not say anything, maybe I wouldn’t have to.
Dear Black Girl, yes, it is difficult to be put into a box that everyone believes they know how to open but no one actually does. But, you have your own key, you are your own remedy.