One reason why I write so much here is that aside from my therapist, there are not many people I can talk to about the depression: my boyfriend and friends, but even with them I limit myself because I don’t want to bring up the same subject day after day, for weeks on end, sounding like a broken record. A blog is easier, because everyone can come and read it whenever they feel like it.
Over the last few weeks, I tried talking about the depression and therapy to my mother, but it’s not easy. I have hidden and masked my real desolation for so long that admitting to it now must be like a slap in the face for her.
Before starting therapy, my mother tried to discourage me from doing it – not strongly, but the topic came up a few times; she was afraid I would start running amok and blame her for my misery. Depression runs in my family, on both my parents’ sides there are relatives who have or had it, and my mother seems to be happier thinking it’s genetic or a chemical imbalance of my brain. I don’t argue that I probably have a certain genetic predisposition, but I also have problems handling my mother’s (sometimes very) dominant behaviour. I don’t want to shift the blame to her – she cannot help her character, just as I can’t help mine. Being naturally angsty and submissive, I was never fit to stand up against her, though, and it’s part of what I’m learning now. It’s part of why I need the therapy.
My family and a couple of closer relatives know that I’m undergoing treatment for depression, even though the latter are not aware of any details; all of my friends know, too. A lot of my friends have experience with depression too – at least to some extent.
I’m really glad I don’t have to deal with any of those “think positive!”-people in my private life. Positive thinking is fine and dandy, but part of the definition of major depression is the inability to think positive. And apart from the low moods I suffered from, there are some real problems that will not go away just because I decide to see the positive aspects in life. Sometimes you just have to assess the situation and admit that it’s shit and that there is nothing great about it – not getting discouraged by it is the vital aspect.
Then, there’s also the “pull yourself together!” party. My mother has occasional bouts of that, which I know she has learned from her mother – this family branch very much displays a “no fuss” mentality. And often, on other topics, I actually appreciate it. But with depressions, it doesn’t help. I have pulled myself together for nearly two decades and still descended into the deep dark valley time and again.
I pulled myself together until I got panic attacks that finally made me go see a doctor. A week later I fainted on my way to work, so it was back to the doctor, where I broke out in tears, sobbing, “I can’t take this any longer.”