The Depression Conversation People Need To Hear

So last night, I almost got attacked by a teenager who just started seeing a therapist.

He gave me the fright of my life when he nearly attacked me because I won’t give him the car key. It was eleven in the evening, I just got home from a photography exhibit, and I was truly terrified that he would pull my foot out from under me when he came running up the stairs after me to get the key out of my hand.

I was shaking, maybe out of anger, and maybe out of terror because let’s face it, there is no way I could take on him, who is more than half a foot taller than me and at least 15kg heavier. If it’s any indication, he almost broke his bedroom door in half when he punched it, and made a dent in the wall that my dad just fixed.

So here’s what I want to say:

Dear depressed people,

Your depression is not an excuse for you to act like spoiled brats, and it’s definitely not an excuse for you to act shitty around other people.

Yes, we will cut you some slack when there are days that you can’t get up because it’s too much. Yes, we will cut you some slack when there are days when the world seems to be pushing down on you. Yes, we will cut you some slack when emotions seem uncontrollable, but not when it becomes harmful to anyone else.

No, being depressed does not give you the right to act like a spoiled child. No, being depressed does not mean that you throw a tantrum when someone says “no.” No, being depressed does not mean you can act less like a human being because you’re depressed, not some sort of  animal with no sense of responsibility towards yourself and others.

No, being depressed does not give you the right to abuse anyone in any way. No, being depressed does not mean you can lie, steal, or cheat. No, being depressed does not mean we will watch you become self-destructive, and NO, being depressed does not mean you get special treatment.

Yes, it means we will cut you some slack, maybe even a lot of slack, but it does not mean we will watch you spiral down into that rabbit hole. Being depressed does not give you the right nor the privilege to act like a bastard.

Being depressed means you still have to adhere to rules: whether set by your family, the agreement with your roommates, your work, your church, your society, your country. Being depressed means you also have to fight for yourself, it means you have to help yourself, because you need you more than anything.

It does not mean you fight with people around you because truly, that we’re still here in the first place means we love you and we do not deserve to be mistreated by you.

Dear People With Depressed Loved Ones,

Yes, you need all the patience you can when dealing with them. This one is the fourth that I’ve dealt with since I moved out of our house in the province, and believe me, I’ve seen too much of it.

And here’s the thing: there is only so much you can do for them before you can’t do anything anymore. In the end, getting better is always, always, ALWAYS up to them.

To illustrate:

My former college best friend acted as  a jerk because he felt the world is on his shoulders. Punching walls until his knuckles bled, glaring at people until they scuttle away. I stopped seeing my friends because he acted jealous and possessive and I ended up getting frustrated and almost got kicked out of the dorm (I eventually left before they could kick me out).

My ex boyfriend felt unloved so he tried manipulating people around him and made me feel all kinds of guilty when I wanted to go out with others. Sure, he tells me “you should go out, you need a break” but ends up calling me every ten to fifteen minutes to check in on me because he was afraid something bad might happen. Of course, there’s the “I just miss you” thing he threw every single time because who does not like being missed? Then when I had a breakdown because I was emotionally distressed (I was spiralling into depression myself), he told me I was seeking for attention. Wow, thanks so much for giving me emotional trauma (I was the one who had to take him to the hospital for an overdose) and then had the gall to blame me for it.

My former friend threatened her parents of running away and killing herself when they told her they’re not too keen on the idea of her getting a tattoo. As for me? She told me to go screw myself when I got really sick and can barely get out of bed because she said I was selfish for not putting her first. Sure, I am on the brink collapsing from exhaustion, but why not put her first, right?

This one is the most difficult one yet. While I can get myself out of the toxicity of other people, I probably can’t this time, because family. But to to be honest I am so tired of having to deal with all these and get mistreated anyway.

I don’t want you to think I gave up on people I cared for: I didn’t. I didn’t regret trying to help them. I tried my best to take care of them, but here’s the thing: They have to want to help themselves too. There is only so much you could do. If you tried your best and things still don’t work out, it is NOT your fault.

That being said, I’m going back to sleep. It’s time to move on. I’m always, always, ALWAYS the one who has to be strong.

Screw me, right?

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2 thoughts on “The Depression Conversation People Need To Hear

  1. Hi Maria – i’ve read some of your articles and I’d love to offer up story idea / an interview with my client, Newport Academy – a facility that helps teens who suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse. I’d love to talk to you more about it, I think you’d enjoy talking to the Newport Academy team too.

I would love to know what you think

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