In a recent email exchange with a certain family member about mental health (ok, my mental health), it didn’t take long before finding myself in familiar and somewhat frustrating territory.
With feeble attempts to illustrate how clinical depression is so much more than just “having the blues”, I Googled articles on the subject, forwarding anything I could find that would help explain my brain.
After a few minutes, I receive the inevitable reply thanking me for sending the information, in assurance they understand a bit more. But the amount of truth to their statement is directly proportional to just how much I believe it.
This hamster wheel of grasping for vindication (for my thoughts and behaviors when treading the waters of despair) exhausts me – yet again – and I’m left alone to shut my computer down and accept the facts when it comes to mental illness: some people will never get it. And who can blame them? It’s my crazy-coated DNA, and I barely understand it myself.
But just because the people in our lives are unable to fully grasp why we can’t get out of bed (or take a shower, do the dishes, take the garbage out, or do laundry for days on end), doesn’t mean they love us any less. And to be clear, when we are in the throes of this utter darkness, it’s not that we physically can’t do those things – it’s that we won’t. We’ve lost the ability to