I’ve recently been diagnosed with Clinical Depression. You’d never know it if you interact with me. I’m energetic, funny, and social, and I’m always the life of the party. But, if I don’t have to socialize, I won’t. When left to my own devices, I won’t do anything at all.
I have to force myself to interact with others. I have to force myself to take care of my farm and tend my garden. I have to force myself to ride and train the horses. I have to force myself to write. I don’t enjoy any of it the way I used to, and I’m exhausted all the time from forcing myself to do these things that once gave me energy, these things I used to love.
When I first stopped enjoying things, I figured I’d just apply “fake it ’til you make it” logic. I thought that if I just kept going through the motions for a few weeks, it would come back to me. And then weeks turned into years and it never came back. I realized I was miserable all the time and I needed to do something more because “faking it” wasn’t working, so I went to a doctor.
Now I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, but that’s not the end. I’m not even sure if it’s the beginning. I don’t know what it is, really, since I’ve never done this before. At least it isn’t “faking it”.
I’m not writing this looking for sympathy or accolades. I’m writing it because so often I see people say, “So and So was happy and had so much, how could they have been depressed?” I’m writing this because depression can look happy and successful. Depression can look like you have it all together and are enjoying life.
Depression is a black hole on the inside. It’s a lack of energy. It’s a lack of motivation and interest in the world. It’s a pervasive, overwhelming exhaustion from constantly forcing yourself through the motions of life, and I can absolutely understand how that can drive a person to give up on their life.
It’s the “faking it” that really gets to you, and so the people who seem like they’re on top of the world are often the ones struggling the most. Keeping up that facade is mentally and physically exhausting and overwhelming and in the end it will break you. For myself, I’ve decided to drop the facade and just let myself be. After all, how can the treatment work if I’m pretending that there’s nothing wrong?
If you know what that feels like and haven’t gotten help yet, go see a doctor. It’s easier than you think. I had convinced myself that it would be difficult and frustrating to get help, but it just took a quick Google search: “psychiatrists near me”, and a couple phone calls later I had my first appointment. You can do it, and you’re not alone.