I wasn’t aware the impact my post would have yesterday. I received numerous messages from people I’ve never even met telling me how they were so calmed by someone being honest about depression/bipolar/suicide.
Depression does lie. It does physically hurt. It can drive you crazy because you aren’t in control of yourself. You really aren’t.
When I was diagnosed with Bipolar I was ‘too young’ to be bipolar so I was given the label “Really Depressed”. Okay, well at the time that fit the bill. Then when I got older and my symptoms became more binary, I realized something else was up. I was then told that my mania was actually normal and my lows were simply my depressed states.
Then, after a few years, the graveness of the situation became very clear. I hurt someone, deeply, that I care about. When this occurred I was at the beginning of my treatment. I was newly diagnosed Bipolar I and was put on mood stabilizers. My anxiety was still through the roof, I was self medicating by online shopping like I was Kim Kardashian, and eating food like I was Michael Phelps. Since I am neither, my bank account crashed, and my waist expanded. This didn’t help the anxiety or the depression.
It made it worse.
When I finally came to terms with the fact that depression and bipolar (among others) are diseases, I stopped.
Just because I don’t have a visible ailment, doesn’t mean I am not suffering and in pain. Just because my pain can’t be fixed with advil or an antibiotic doesn’t mean it’s not real. Just because someone else doesn’t accept it, or believe it, doesn’t make it a lie. It makes that person intolerant.
Matt Walsh – apparently a well known Christian Blogger (I’ve never heard of him, and I am a Christian) – wrote apiece yesterday entitled:
When I saw this, I screamed.
Also, incidents like this give us an opportunity to talk about depression, and we certainly should. Only we shouldn’t turn the subject into a purely cold, clinical matter. “Chemical imbalances,” people say. “A man is depressed because of his brain chemicals, and for no other reason.”
No, we are more than our brains and bigger than our bodies. Depression is a mental affliction, yes, but also spiritual. That isn’t to say that a depressed person is evil or weak, just that his depression is deeper and more profound than a simple matter of disproportioned brain chemicals. And before I’m accused of being someone who “doesn’t understand,” let me assure you that I have struggled with this my entire life.
AHHHH. WHAT? I mean really. WHAT?
But, wait. THERE IS MORE.
We are so trained to ignore differing perspectives that the minute a person opens his mouth with a view diverging from our own, we block out his words and fill in the blanks with some caricature we concocted in our heads.
I can understand atheists who insist that depression must only be a disease of the brain, as they believe that our entire being is contained by, and comprised of, our physical bodies. But I don’t understand how theists, who acknowledge the existence of the soul, think they can draw some clear line of distinction between the body and the soul, and declare unequivocally that depression is rooted in one but not the other. This is a radically materialist view now shared by millions of spiritualist people.
I’m not a doctor, and shockingly, neither is Matt Walsh, but to legitimately state with a straight face, that these illnesses do not have to do with brain chemistry is kind of well… the most ignorant thing I have ever heard.
And I have heard Fox News Anchors Talk.
So this, for me, is always the most essential moral at the end of these kinds of sad, terrible stories: we are all meant for joy. We are all meant for love. We are all meant for life. And as long as we can still draw breath, there is joy and love to be found here. I believe that. If I didn’t, I would have left a long time ago.
I agree that God put us here to love and be loved. I also agree that everyone deserves joy. I wake up some mornings and that breath he talks about us taking is the most painful, gut wrenching thing I have to do. I’m not exaggerating. I form masks so people – even my husband – doesn’t know the severity of my pain. Then I go to Therapy every week and sob my eyes out because I have pent it up for 7 days.
Matt Walsh can state that Robin Williams made the choice and his depression didn’t make him do it, but when I have been in the same boat, attempting the same actions, it was not me. It was my disease.
The part that was me, was working with the doctors and my therapist to get stable, which from the news Robin Williams tried.
I don’t think we should be judged on our pain, or actions for that matter, by anyone on earth, because no one is above reproach. Whatever demons Robin was fighting are gone. The disease can’t hurt him any longer. While I don’t think that suicide is the answer, I wasn’t there in his mind. I pray he is at peace.
This is proof that our mental health industry and the acceptance of depression is far from where it needs to be. Think of that next time you decide to judge someone who is in invisible pain.