I saw something on "BuzzFeed Life" with this same title and I was immediately intrigued.
I clicked on the link and what I found rang true with me in so many ways. There were several charts and graphs created by Anna Borges that demonstrated some things that only people with depression would understand. I recreated these charts to match my blog colors, but the credit for the idea goes to her.
One of the big problems with understanding depression is understanding that it's not something that is there one day when you get a bad grade on a test or spill ketchup on your new white shirt, but that it's an illness that is felt day in and day out. There can be good days and bad days, but it reaches far deeper than being a little upset or bummed about something.
This is something I NEVER would have understood if I hadn't been through depression myself, but I understand it very well now. I remember days of having dishes waiting to be done or dinner waiting to be made, but I would sit on the couch or lay in bed on the verge of tears as I tried to gather the strength and energy to do it. It's not that I wasn't capable or that I was just too lazy, it's that I felt so overwhelmed and unmotivated and upset that it seemed my only option was to cry rather than do the dishes or make dinner. Once I could finally get up and get started, it really would only take a short amount of time, but I had to fight with myself every day to do every single little thing that needed to be done. It's not something that I can fully explain, even now, because it doesn't make sense in any way, but it's real in every way.
This is amazingly accurate! Depression causes sadness, but it doesn't stop there. The sadness turns to hopelessness, leads to isolation, anxiety, and guilt, and removes the feeling of happiness and enjoyment, which makes you feel like you are the only one moving painfully slow while the rest of the world is moving at its normal fast pace.
Unfortunately, this has been me on too many days, especially recently as we're coming in to winter. It's hard to completely enjoy a good day when you know that a bad day will most likely follow. I have struggled with this far too many times and have slowly been learning to enjoy the good moments and allow the bad moments to come when they do without wasting my whole life worrying that another bad day is coming.
I know that you probably don't feel strong, because I don't either. I am completely surprised and taken back every time that my husband says he looks to me as an example with how I have handled depression. All I see is the crying, the fighting with myself to find motivation, the occasional anger, the pleading with God to take it all away. I don't know if I'll ever understand what my husband sees in me, but I guess somewhere in the falling on my knees in prayer to God, the picking myself up again and again and again, the humility in asking for help when I can't do it on my own, or the desire to not let depression define me, somewhere in there is strength, and it's definitely more than I will ever see in myself. Trust that you are strong and that you have the ability to help others through your struggles.