I am changing things up today, focusing on something that is not literature related but still something that is very close to home for me. So humor me just this one time okay?
I’ve never been one to hide my thoughts on depression, nor have I been very vocal about it. I’ve always just been one of those people who comment from the sidelines, adding my 2 cents when I feel that I have something of substance to contribute. But I have realised that this is something we need to be talking about because everyone experiences depression at some point in their lives to varying degrees and yet talking about it is still viewed as taboo.
You see, the thing about depression is that it is a master of disguise. It has this innate ability to lurk in the background going unnoticed until something triggers it and you’re forced to deal with it.
Sometimes it is impossible for it to be picked up externally, other times it is impossible to miss.
This is something that I’ve notcied a lot of people don’t understand. They’ll say things like “You don’t look depressed.” But depression doesn’t have a look.
You could be happy and still be battling with depression. Your depression could manifest in the silent hours of the morning. It could manifest in waves of bubbliness. It could manifest bouts of aggression. Sometimes this demon visits periodically, other times it visits once every few years. The point is that everyones demon is different.
Personally I’ve battled with cyclothymia for years. As a teenager it manifested in bouts of aggression – yes online friends, I had a very short temper as a kid. In fact, I still do now but I have learnt control it over the last few years.
Nowadays depression is a silent companion that pokes me every now and then to remind me that it is still there. I am lucky enough to have found ways to manage it. I now know what triggers it, what keeps it under wraps and for the most part I’ve trained that bitch to behave. But it’s always there, especially late at night when I find myself overthinking about that thing I could have said or that thing I should have done differently. Other times it’s things that someone else has said or done and I wonder whether my racing mind has comprehended the intention incorrectly. This demon is one of the reasons I am so reclusive, one of the reasons I have a handful of friends. Depression makes it difficult to maintain relationships. When you’ve shared your demons with someone only for them to make you feel inadequate for having them it makes you super weary about sharing them again.
It is also the reason there is such a stark difference between the person I show the world and the person my closest friend and family know. A comment my bestie made when I asked her to check out this website before it launched was “It reflects the public Abdeah, not the Abdeah I know.” And that got me thinking, she’s right. The blogger everyone knows is a very different person to who I am in my personal space. This of course does not mean that my online persona is not genuine, rather that there are many different aspects to my personality and that it adapts to suite the environment.
Anyway, reading and managing this blog is just one of the many ways I deal with my own demon. It keeps me focused, gives me purpose and makes me feel like I am contributing positivity to someone else’s life.
I am also lucky enough to have a support system, even if I don’t use it as often as I should. But I guess the point I am trying to get to with this post is that it is okay, your depression is not something to be ashamed of. It is a part of who you are. It is okay to ask for help and it’s okay to talk about it. We should be talking about it.