Do I need anything to be sad about to be sad?
Depressed? Snap Out Of It! Now why didn’t I think of that? The Cure for Depression, At Last!
I have read a lot of posts on social media that advise depressed people to snap out of it with happy thoughts I totally identified with the contemptuous tone the writers had for troubled people. I had felt the same way about those whiners who had nothing to be upset about. Here I was all alone, after the people who adopted me grew quite vocal about how “people are getting sick of [me]” and they regretted taking me in. What’s more, I was far from popular in school, and I imagined that if I had someone who cared enough to initiate contact with me, just one person…no, I could not even imagine someone seeking me out for the reward of contacting me. How dare these people with all of their so-called “loved ones,” complain? These people had parents–2! Siblings, significant others, children, and friends. I know, because I have read articles giving advice about how to support your “loved one” who is battling depression. I felt such rage at people who had more than I even dared wish for, and yet, they suffered within. Surely, my life with all of this isolation would annihilate the beloved depressed. Was depression even a real illness or was this term applied to a spoiled person’s self indulgent gluttony for sympathy? I hated those “families dealing with depression.” Walk a mile in my shoes. Unless the definition of depression is:
Depression: the feeling of emptiness, lack of the will to participate in life and anhedonia, independent of life circumstances and thoughts.
I tried an experiment. If I, as an ordinary human, have the absolute power over my consciousness that effecting these remedies requires, then I should be able to put myself into any state of mind I choose. If I should be able to snap out of depression then I can snap in to depression. Right? But try as I might, I could not produce feelings of grief and loss. I remembered the mourning I suffered through after the loss of my friend three years ago this month. I could not summon those feelings to the forefront of my heart and mind. And not for lack of trying. I was not being self indulgent.
I can’t snap out of feelings, not good ones, not bad ones. I suspect you can’t either. And that is the crux of the difficulty with mental illness a person knows she has, and wants to overcome. She simply cannot get over it. Just because something is simple doesn’t make it easy.