Do you ever feel sad without really knowing why? Do you have moments where gravity seems to apply a massive amount of pressure to your body, making it nearly impossible for you to lift your head and get out of bed? Do you ever wish that you could disappear? Maybe with the word ‘disappear’ being a colloquialism for ‘die’, ‘drop dead’, ‘eat a bullet’ etc., but your loved ones would feel so hurt at such a commentary?
Other related symptoms may include a general lack of interest in things you sometimes loved, a heavy disconnect from friends and social settings, and a disturbing sensation of self-hate and worthlessness.
If you have one of more of these symptoms, you may be suffering from being a normal fucking human being.
More often than ever, I feel a weight on my shoulders that simply makes me want to not be alone. But when I finally muster the strength to ask for someone to simply sit beside me, they are repulsed by the sick and trodden being that I’ve previously hid behind my smile and whimsical laugh. Yes, I hurt too, and though I prance about with this façade, I would still imagine that a person I’ve grown to know could be relied on to show every side of my diamond – even the ones that have clouds.
That, for me, is when the pain sets in. Constantly hiding hurt, fatigue and hopelessness beyond this smile, waiting for just one moment where I can let out the tears and have someone wipe them from my face. A silly fantasy, I guess, but when that dream is left unimagined, I am only capable of feeling worthless, unwanted and ugly.
Which brings us to the next question – what type of pharmaceutical miracle can we append to this wound? If I told you I felt hopeless, would you prescribe medication, therapy, or both? Well, I for one have come to the point of realization that these are all band-aids with permanent side-effects. Your Xanax might kill you anyways, your Celexa could make you obese, Prosaac might cause you to swallow some lead – obviously, these are worst case scenarios, but if every medication made to treat your depression also warns that it may worsen your depression, let’s be frank; you’re playing Russian Roulette.
I cannot simply take my life, place it in the hands of a person who works hourly, and ask them to fix it. Are you telling your therapist the truth – the entire truth? For example, did you tell her about the things that may have happened ten or twenty years ago in your childhood that scarred you for life, but you internalize them because you feel as if they have absolutely nothing to do with the issues you experience today? Or did you decide to open up about them, but realize that the amount of time you had left those skeletons alone had actually allowed them to heal, and now she sits in front of you jotting down notes as if you’re a scientific specimen.
So those are two things we’ve tried – medicine and therapy. Either they worked or they didn’t. In my case, they were a miss and another miss. So what’s next? Support groups is what the usually say, or support circles. Essentially, people who you can go to when you feel upset. That sound easy enough, right? So you have a bad day at work, your manager is a total cunt, you haven’t slept more than four hours over the last three days – to say the least, you’re not feeling your best. So you shoot a message over to your best friend, lover, fill-in-the-blank and they say: “Oh. Have you taken your medication?” or “It could be worse.” or “My day was definitely worse.” By this time, you’ve forgotten why you reached out, you wish you hadn’t, and you’re exponentially more defeated than you were just a few minutes ago.
If you’re still with me and not reblogging this post to flame me for disputing medical practices, I’ll get to the point (or maybe just reasonably close). It goes something like this:
Now, I am most definitely not saying that all mental illnesses are fake and everyone should suck it up. That is the absolute opposite. However, what I am saying is that these ‘mental illnesses’ are not things you suffer because you are broken or because you are weak. If you tap your knee with a hammer, it flinches, we’ve all seen the doctor test for that. But there is no test for how much you’ll cry when you’re hurt, how long you’ll feel worthless after a breakup, how long you’ll feel depression after a death, or how long you’ll feel trauma after an assault. These items do not work the same as a physical assessment of your knee-jerk reaction, because your nature and your nurture and even the second and day that these reactions are tested can massively change the results.
So, doctor, tell me this? What is it normal to feel sad about? What is my allotted span of time before I ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. Can’t I just cry, hate myself, and enjoy a little bit of time detoxing all that bitterness until I’m ready to move on?
I don’t know. I’m not a medical professional, and I don’t intend to answer these questions for you, for myself, or for anyone. All I can speak on is my own experiences with depression, anxiety, and just feeling broken.
Yes, it is normal to feel pain, as we do physically we may often mentally. Due to the vast differences of our nature and nurture, what is good for some of us is not good for another. I truly, more than anything, feel that when I stop touching the medication, stop talking to the therapist, and simply sit in my room and explain to myself what it is I’m feeling, why it is I’m feeling it, and what I can do to make it better, that information is more easily received by my mind than someone who is getting paid hourly to try to figure all of that out.
The assumption that something is wrong with you because you had a bad day, a bad month – hell, even a bad year – is not fair. Maybe, if nothing else have ever helped you, you do need medication. Maybe you could use a psychologist, one skilled in your specific problem at the time. But what you don’t need is to feel like you’re broken, weak or disgusting. We are not all placed on this earth with the same armor, and even those who have the strongest plates of steel may suffer a crippling blow on the battlefield. I can’t be the one to tell you what to do.
The purpose of this post was partially for me, in the breaking point I reached today where I cried all morning, called a friend and then was told I needed ‘help’. I’ve seeked help before, but today I was just sad, very, very sad. I hadn’t slept much, work was stressing me out, I was feeling rejected by someone I really just wanted to see again. For me, these were silly little grievances, but that brain of mine issued a work stop and decided to do nothing but focus on why nobody will ever love me. Thanks, brain.
Anyhow, that is a process that will last from a few hours to a few days. I know that I need to think about it, on it and around it, and eventually I’ll get back to where I was before. It’s part of life to stumble and fall.
But the realization of how ready and eager people are to prescribe medication for someone who may grieving is the second reason I decided to write this disorganized block of text. I briefly went over symptoms of antidepressants and like medications above – these are not peer reviewed sources, do not take them as gospel, but they are substances that I have used – to bring in the point of how readily these are prescribed. From my experience with SSRIs, they are not a ‘get well soon’ fix, they are meant to be permanent due to the change of structure in the way your brain handles serotonin, and if they happen to not be for you… that’s unfortunate. Some side effects do not go away.
And yet again, the risk of suicide for someone who may already be thinking about suicide. I won’t ask if it’s worth it, because it is not.
So what should you do about your Being a Human with Emotions Disorder (Yes, that’s what we’re calling it now.)? Besides this massive web knowledge infrastructure available at our fingertips, I very passively recommend a couple of other tiny things:
- Remember. When you feel upset, when you cry, ache and just wish you could disappear, you feel so alone and misunderstood, you long for just one person to sit by your side and comfort you – remember. That is ok. You are ok. You are human, you yearn for touch, you feel deeply, and that only makes you easier to love for someone who is capable of loving you. You do know what that means, right? Nobody is gentle enough to love someone as gentle as yourself, except for yourself. Give yourself what you long for. Talk to yourself – I swear, it’s not weird. Remind yourself that it is TODAY that you feel this way. Let yourself feel that way TODAY. Tomorrow is something to be addressed when it comes, and not a second before.
- Reflect. Think about other times you’ve felt this way, and what similarities exist before the event. In my field, we like to call this trend analysis. It took me awhile, but I often realized that severe instances of depression came from feeling unwanted. It sounds ridiculous, but I care what you think of me as much as I care what a psychologist thinks. That information is for me to know, because I can then realize how to avoid those bad feelings. Do I? That’s a separate issue on its own. But I do know my Achilles Heel.
- Reinforce. This goes into the weak spots of armor we’ve discovered in step two. We know what gets us riled up and going, but what if it’s something that we can’t prevent? I get very uncomfortable when a person brings up sexual assault in a very casual conversation. Without stating obvious facts here, I don’t see it is something casual or remotely humorous to talk about. In current media stances, it is almost the only thing on the media, even with intensely detailed documentaries being broadcasted on news channels. A few days ago I was at the gym on a treadmill and the flat screen over on the wall was going over a documentary involving a doctor and an under aged girl. I couldn’t believe it! But at this point I had done what I needed to do: I remembered that I have trauma, I reflected on why this specific TV show was bothering me, and I focused on what was important. I do not recommend engaging, such as getting off the treadmill, going to the gym staff and telling them to change the channel. I only say this because you are not now acknowledging and understanding yourself, but you are forcing others to append to your weaknesses and therefor not allowing yourself to recover from this problem.
Again, for your benefit, I have no sort of medical licensing – I am only speaking of my experience, as I have first-hand grown sick and tired of being treated like a broken thing, when I am not in any element broken. I just have a couple of bumps and bruises that hurt when they are touched.
And now for the harsher part; you can sit comfortably in your bubble of constant distress, but as Franz Kafka made clear in Metamorphosis, everyone is forced to either acknowledge or ignore the monster you have become. If you do not plan or desire to be better – if you fetishize your misery to the point of making it a permanent tenant in your heart – the information above is no longer several ways that you may be able to help yourself. Do not, within your ability, ever make it be several reasons why nobody is capable of loving you.
You are capable of loving. Demonstrate it first yourself, and others will follow your lead.
Additional notes: If you fear for your own life, in that you may cause yourself imminent physical harm, please contact your nearest Adult Behavioral Health facility first and foremost. These places are not all made equal, but they focus on restoring you to a functional point that you are not set on safe harm, providing you with a safe space in the time being, and also providing counselling, group talk sessions and other educational resources. I do recommend committing to impatient therapy if you do not feel safe.
You can find more information about SSRIs at the links below: these are some of my favorite sources for getting to the nitty-gritty in the true risks vs profits of taking these types of medication.
Lastly and most importantly, remember the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychologist will find what could be wrong with you, but offer suggestions on how to better yourself in ways that do not always involve medication. A psychiatrist is only authorized to prescribe you medication. I highly recommend that if you truly feel you need to, visit a psychologist first and allow medication to be your final option.