At this point, I think we have all understood that I suffer from depression and anxiety. However, have we actually realized its magnitude over my daily life and the ones of those you love who also suffer from it? Let’s see…
I know, “everyone has those moments” etc., etc. (btw, never should you say something like this to someone suffering from depression because you will thus only cause frustration and even more unstable moods). Yet, I do see that for somebody who does not struggle which such issues, truly understanding how that feel is basically impossible — and I am glad it is that way, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough specialists around.
Nonetheless, I want to raise some essential awareness and take advantage of this moment. Yes, right now, as I am typing every single word, my heart is racing and my mind would like to sink into that gloomy state that for long now it has been friends with. Also, doing this is truly therapeutic for me and I do not see why I should not take advantage of it!
Why did pizza give me a fit?
To start off, let me say that it is not the simple association of glutinous dough, tomato sauce and cheese that broke me. Instead, a series of triggers came into action and one after the other I felt breathless.
First of all, I need not have any strings attached
What that basically means is that having spent most of my childhood by myself, I ended up not having many other options but relying on me and myself only if I ever needed anything. Consequently, I find it very difficult to ask for someone else’s help when I need it — no matter how obvious this is. Which, when it comes to depression, leads me to not wanting to be supported by a specialist and solely figuring myself out (which not always works out).
On top of that, I find that having close friends with whom I can — luckily — be in touch every day, I happen to feel a bit fastened up and unable to make my own choises. Do not get me wrong on this one: it is not like I do not ACTUALLY have the chance to do whatever I wish; it is just my brain telling me that, in order to be wanted and maintain our mutual status, I shall behave in a certain way, since otherwise it just would not work.
It does not make sense, but that is the point of suffering from something as heavy as depression: for how pointless or nonsensical something might look to the general public, that certain fear, conviction, complex cannot leave our mind and we feel bound to act accordingly (like it or not). But we are still people, and as a rule of thumb, humans do not appreciate having to follow mandatory impositions. So that, when we feel overwhelmed, we finally stop behaving in that specific way and this triggers all of those thoughts that eventually result in “see, you are not worthy of…; you do not deserve them; you were just not meant to be friends/together; nobody will like you now; (or even) oh, finally you gave them the best reason to drop you off FOREVER”.
Just think about it. Would you be pleased if anyone came to you and told you such things straight to your face? I suppose not; so, imagine hearing that constantly from your own self. It is genuinely exhausting and there are indeed times when it feels better to just be the one that “lets go of everyone”, in the hope of finally finding our inner peace.
It just does not work that way
In fact, studies and common sense show that it is not the thought to be eradicated, since alternatively this will resurface in a different form, but the illness itself. It is the same as when you get a cold! If you only limit yourself at blowing your nose without taking any medication to attack the virus, you will not overcome the problem and this will persist — and perhaps strengthen.
The only difference in this case is that mental illnesses can have way worse outcomes and downplaying them will not only allow them to thrive uncontrollably, but even put our own lives at utter risk.
So, again, what does pizza have to do with this in the first place?
Well, in my case, I chose to follow what my brain tole me to be the “rightest” behaviour and although this was already bothering me, I decided to ignore the slight frustration and suck it up. Afterwards, having maintained this attitude for a while already, it started to snowball little by little to the point where I could no longer stand anything (not even my own thoughts).
So, I had to isolate myself. I quit my friends’ company and walked all the way back to my cave. There I spent half an hour hating on myself and eventually brought myself to do something which might (…to you…) sound like a lengthy and odd way of apologizing…
It might sound like sheer exaggeration, but I swear this is what it feels like. Sounds unlivable? Well, that is because it is strenuous and one of the main reasons why people affected by depression isolate themselves: to avoid causing sufferance to their beloved ones and to stop having to follow absurd commands imposed by their not-quite-fine minds.
So, if you have someone who struggles with this kind of issues: make sure that they are safe; reassure them, but do NOT tell them that “everything will be just fine”, since this cannot be realized nor fantasized by someone in that kind of mindset; encourage them to do what they like and if you do not feel comfortable leaving them alone, surveil the situation to ensure that it does not worsen; listen, listen and listen; frustration is the first and foremost reaction to most if not all things you might reply and for how badly you might want to provide us with solutions, I am afraid, we won’t listen to your reasons; if you need your own space because this is taking a toll on you too, do it (you do not want to join us in the pit).