You’ve heard it said before but cease to believe it until it happens to you. As I live and breathe whilst writing this, I can say this; depression is real. Overwhelming feelings of anxiety and suffocation is real. And no, it cannot be controlled.
I have no control over flashes of immortality.
I have no control over the ability to hide my depression.
I have no control over the inability to get out of bed in the morning.
I have no control over the tears that run down my face at the most random of moments.
I have no control over angry outbursts targeted at loved ones. Hurt people hurt people. Remember that.
I have no control over what feels like an eight hundred pound gorilla pressing against my chest, restricting my ability to breathe.
Worst of it all, I have no control over how others interpret and handle depression.
The society I grew up in doesn’t talk. We don’t talk about how we feel. We fear it, loathe it and have too much pride to admit it, myself included. For many, it’s easier to slap a label on someone who lives with depression as angry, moody or always sad. I’ve been slapped with many labels before. Not just from strangers or acquaintances, from loved ones as well. There is no discrimination as to the understanding or lack there of as to the behavior of someone living with depression.
“She’s just weird.”
“She’s so moody.”
“ I don’t want to argue with you.”
“She woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”
“Do you remember, you had such a foul temper.”
“Stay away from her today, she’s having a bad day.”
I’ve become accustomed to such remarks. However, make no mistake, it doesn’t get any easier to swallow after the tenth or twentieth time. Afterall, we are all only human.
Why do they not seek to first understand? Understand that it’s not something I can control? I try and try but I simply can’t control the enzymes that send signals to my brain and senses. Is it easier to slap a label on me or walk away than to seek to learn more about what it means to live with depression? Is it really such a taboo? Or even worse, is it easier to give up on me?
The answer, yes.
My response, that’s ok.
The flip side to this is simple - choice. Other than to ask questions and empathize, I chose not to get angry. I chose to have control over the one thing I can, and that is how I chose to react. How I chose to respond, receive and react.
For this, I have control.
Focus on how you chose to react, not the reaction of others.