I get depressed. Imagine like emotions each have a switch like Inside Out but the difference between you and me is that when your sad switch gets turned on, it turns off again and you’re fine.
With me it’s kinda stuck. And no matter what I do the switch gets flicked to ON every single day and I spend hours stuck on SAD.
The difference between you and me is that you aren’t addicted to selfharm. When I get depressed it’s actually really dangerous for me. I don’t have control over the switch I just have to not act on my addiction. Sounds easy? It’s not. You think drugs are bad? People with drug addictions can stop using drugs. I can’t avoid food or exercise or razor blades. My “drugs” are constantly in my life. There’s no safe zone.
Mental illness is so good at it’s job. The first thing it takes is your emotions. It changes the chemicals in your brain so that you CANNOT feel happy. It’s not a choice. You just can’t feel things right. Then because the emotions when they do come flooding through sweep you away you get overwhelmed by human connection. So then to compensate for feeling out of control you attach to depression or self harm or drugs- anything to help you stay numb because you’re in pain. Pain that never stops. Never goes away.
But when you’re addicted to something and your emotions hit the wall and your addiction and depression and in my case PTSD are tearing apart your mind and body, it also prevents connection to other people and forming healthy relationships.
Addiction and love cannot coexist. Addiction is a substitute for relationships, addiction is my lover, my best friend, the one I confide in, the one “person” who never leaves me. I can count on it to numb the hurt for just a few minutes and those few minutes are so much better than the hours of suffering I have to endure otherwise.
I get asked all kinds of stupid questions “Why are you depressed?” “Why don’t you just eat?” “Why don’t you just stop cutting?” “Why can’t you just be happy?” but the truth is those are the wrong questions to ask. The questions should be “How are you feeling? What can I do to help you?” And I will say this for myself. I did not have any choice in this. The only choices I have had are to keep living and to try to get help. I have done everything I can. And if I’m still sad, that’s okay. Because I have been through death, rape, sexual abuse, an eating disorder, losing my dog, losing my best friend, all kinds of tragic. I have a right to feel my feelings, even if one of those feelings is “sad”. I have PTSD, severe depression, and anorexia nervosa and I’m not ashamed of it. I just hope I survive it.
(This featured photo was taken the same day my uncle drowned and two days after my best friend passed away. I had been anorexic for 7 months and was refeeding but as you can see I look very healthy and muscular. I used it as an example that you can never really see who is depressed but if you feel it, you know it. And also as an example that anyone can be anorexic. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.