What have you…

…got to be depressed about?

That was what someone very well-intentioned asked me the other day. Someone who meant well but has never suffered long-term clinical depression.

If you look at my life, they’re right; I have nothing to be depressed about. I have Lovely Boyfriend, as much time with my children as I can handle, benefits ensuring I have a roof over my head and food on the table…and yet I’m depressed.

I don’t think it helps when stories in the news/on the internet spout the usual “I was in the middle of a nasty divorce, I’d lost my job and my dog had just died; is it any wonder I was depressed” stories. Sure, some people get depressed after negative events in their life, but that’s not all depression is.

Long-term recurrent depression doesn’t wait for a hiccup in your benefits or the death of a family member to strike. For me, depression struck (again) nearly a year ago, as I returned from a wonderful holiday with Lovely Boyfriend, with plenty to look forward to and no dark clouds on the horizon.

I don’t “have anything to be depressed about”…I have a recurrent depressive disorder.


8 thoughts on “What have you…

  1. Ahhhh! For me sometimes the well intentioned comments like that can be more difficult to take. I guess because they’ve shown they care… just not enough to really hear what I’m saying. I never said I HAD a reason to feel bad. In fact a lot of times I feel guilty for feeling bad because I know many others have had it WAY worse than I have, so what right do I have to feel bad? The truth is that there isn’t always a reason. And I can’t change it just by thinking happy thoughts! Tried that! If you’re anything like me, those kinds of comments or conversations are so so hard to take in. Just frustrating and I guess makes me feel helpless in a way. I’m sorry you had to hear it, even from a well intentioned person who I’m sure had no idea how non productive their words were!

    • It just goes to show how even those closest to you don’t understand the exact nature of the illness/ess! Still a long way to go before people understand mental ill-health is as unstoppable as diabetes/cancer etc!

  2. I once asked a friend what they had to be depressed about. I was very ignorant at the time. Now I’ve been struggling with depression and a more recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder and I understand the error in my ways.

    • I don’t think anyone who uses the phrase does so deliberately to hurt…like you said, it’s ignorance over the condition. It helps if the sufferer is aware of the lack of understanding and can learn how to handle the question…I was disappointed rather than upset/self-blaming for instance.

  3. Hey there.
    I’ve spent the last seven years knowing why it is I’ve been spending so many more years walking on eggshells.
    After years of being treated for Depression and Anxiety, an insightful doctor finally had the experience, the knowledge and experience to refer to the DSM IV and read my wife a list of “symptoms” (I prefer “behaviors” ’cause that’s something we all have), and my wife was floored:
    “That fits me perfectly. That’s me.”
    What “that” turned out to be was BPD.
    Scared the shit out of her: “borderline”.
    What border?
    What was on the other side of that border?
    Exactly what did that mean?
    I tried to lead her to the understanding that it’s very much like a Chinese take-out menu:
    one behavior from Column A, three from Column B, two from Column C, et cetera.
    Out of a choice of God only knows how many recognizable behaviors, her specific buffet created the overloaded plate she was trying to balance on her head.
    It was uniquely hers.
    I have mine, she has hers, you have yours.
    I started blogging a couple of months ago about a few things, and Mental Illness is one of them It’s a subject that needs me to really think things through, to reflect upon and inspect. Don’t have many of them, but this is the post that sets the tone.
    Y’see, I don’t fight Depression or Anxiety or ADD – I embrace them. They are as much a part of me as my baby blues and my full head of to-die-for blonde hair.
    I don’t hide from or behind these diagnoses because they make me who I am, and who I am is at least much more in touch with myself than most of the agonizingly “normal” people I know.
    I have come to the realization that I will never control those beasts, all I can expect of myself is to manage them to the best of my abilities.
    I may even – and have even – taken full advantage of their strengths.
    More posts will follow as I fine tune them and re-write the gibberish that initially flows out of my wrists out on to the keyboard, so to speak.
    But this is a good start:

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