Wednesday, 9 April 2014

On depression
(photo by me) 

My depression doesn't go away. It may even be worse.
Of course, even though people say ignorance is bliss, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't trade my self-awareness for delusion. But it's painful. It's reached the point when, as the night comes, I have to turn on the TV even if I don't watch it, for the sounds, so as not to be left alone with my thoughts.
And it's unbearable also because people usually don't understand. Depression is not that 'down' feeling everyone has once in a while. Depression is not something that just goes away if you exercise or go out or meet people or watch cute animal videos or do something fun or make a list of your strengths or try to think positively. Nor do I think depression's a 1st-world problem, born of idleness, selfishness and negativity, which sounds as though depressed people are a bunch of privileged, spoilt kids who don't realise how fortunate they are compared to, say, the starving kids in Africa. That may be true, but it doesn't matter, and saying it doesn't help. I don't need people to tell me that I should be grateful for having a shelter and food and education and culture and entertainment, for being (relatively) healthy and having a family, for living in a country with high standards of living, for living in a democratic society that respects human rights, religious freedom and freedom of expression, etc, so whilst dealing with my depression, my self-loathing, my inadequacy, I at the same time feel guilty, and hate myself even more for my selfishness, egotism, for what is seen as an exaggeration of my own problems, my insensitivity, my obliviousness to greater problems around the world... I've seen some people on the net criticise Sylvia Plath, for instance, and compare her to Kim Kardashian. And seen some awful things people have said about David Foster Wallace or Virginia Woolf. That's how people see it- suicide is selfish, and depression is only because you don't try to be more positive. 
I'm not dealing with it in a healthy way. 
I don't seek help. Talk to doctors or psychologists or psychiatrists? I can't help thinking of the scene in "The bell jar", when Esther talks to a doctor and feels disgusted with his hypocrisy, as he sits there saying some bullshit whilst having on the desk a picture of himself and his family, which seems to be yelling "look how happy I am". I can't help thinking that as long as I walk into such a room, I would look around to find if there's such a picture, then I would stare at the doctor and secretly laugh at their mechanically repeating all the things they've learnt in school about how to talk to people-with-problems. Join a group? I've seen it in films all the time. The idea of listening to strangers' problems bores me to death and may make me feel worse about life. The idea of standing up and speaking out my thoughts and fears sounds idiotic, to others I only say that I'm depressed, not why, I don't even tell my close friends and family, why do it to a bunch of strangers, who sit there because they hope to get better themselves, not because they want to hear about my feelings, and who, whether or not they care, must feign some interest, and force themselves to listen politely? See, I'm being cynical. I can also guess what people may say- those clichés can also come out of my mouth. Or, take antidepressants? I don't want to take pills, it makes the matter sound more serious, like I have mental illness. And I generally don't take pills unless I have to, for fear of being dependent on medicals (never used sleeping pills either). 
That's the people who don't have experience. Those who do, I'm afraid, aren't any more helpful. 
One just has to live with it. Try to last another day. Try one's best not to let it affect other things (though obviously it does).
But now and then it feels so awful.

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