When you suffer from severe clinical depression, self-care such as this is an extremely necessary survival skill. It took me so many years to let go of all the guilt I felt when I couldn’t attend every party/function or be whatever everyone else in my life needed me to be. When I had to reschedule plans or take the day off? I would completely beat myself up over it, which obviously only made me feel worse. Eventually I was able to realize how silly it is to feel guilty for having an illness. I am not weak, lazy or crazy. I certainly didn’t ask to have a chemical imbalance and if there was a way to will it away? Well let’s just say I’m pretty strong-willed to say the least lol.
We don’t look down on those who suffer from diabetes, cancer, or any other illness that is usually physically noticeable. So why the hell do so many still look down on mental illness as a character flaw or weakness? Honestly it really pisses me off. In my opinion? It’s no better than kicking kittens.
Think about it. When I had cancer, I was just a kid (12 yrs old). Even having cancer and being a kid, I was able to advocate for myself to a large extent. When I had pain, I let them know. When the chemo made me nauseous, I let them known. But when you have depression or other mental illnesses? It’s a whole different ballgame where the decks are stacked against you before you even step on the field.
When I am in a depression, the very nature of my illness makes me feel less than and worthless. Your brain actually tricks you into believing that you don’t deserve to live and that the people you love would be better of without you. During those moments, the pain is so intense you think it will just swallow you up whole. So how the hell are you supposed to advocate for yourself when you feel like you don’t deserve any better? Like you have in some way caused this pain and nothing will ever get any better.
Thankfully for me, those days are very far and few in between these days. I’d be lying if I said they don’t still happen. But now I have an arsenal of tips and tricks that help me and I am able to even tell myself that this feeling is temporary and I will feel better. I know what to expect and I am ready for it. And the rest of the time? I laugh a lot and I enjoy my life! I think that makes me pretty darn lucky.