I have always been prone to depression. In fact, it is the state I revert to by default unless I am making a conscious effort to stay positive and let go of the myriad things that freak me out. Nearly every day, I wake up disappointed that I am still alive. I go to bed each night stressed about all the things that I did wrong that day.
Not surprisingly, depression is fairly common among aspies. I have had a particularly challenging week, and finally today broke down and had a good cry with some well meaning friends. I generally don’t show real emotions in front of people, and the few times I do, I have great cause to regret it afterwards. I know my friends meant well, but one of them in particular was singularly unhelpful. I thought I’d list some things done that you should not do:
- Don’t tell me I have nothing to be upset about. Just because you don’t know why I’m upset, doesn’t mean I don’t have a reason.
- Don’t tell me how much harder your life has been than mine. You don’t know anything about what I go through every day, and what I have been through all my life.
- Don’t tell me to cheer up. Don’t tell me to “be positive”. There’s a time for advice. That time is not while I’m crying and in obvious emotional distress. Sometimes I just need someone to sit with me and support me while I let it out.
- Don’t tell me to “be strong”. What does that even mean? Is keeping your pain festering inside really strength?
- Don’t tell me to talk to my parents about it. I am 30 years old for crying out loud! Plus, why would you assume that my parents support or care about me? Don’t assume everyone has the same relationships in their life as you do.
The list could go on, but the bottom line is, don’t treat me like I don’t know what pain is. I don’t know why people belittle the suffering of others. I see it all the time in the way adults treat kids and teenagers. A classic example is when a teenager has their heart broken for the first time, and some stupid adult tells them, “Oh, it’s just puppy love. You’ll get over it.” So what if it’s infautation and not <sarcasm>”true love”</sarcasm>. At that time in their life, it may be the most pain they have ever felt. Surely they need a shoulder to cry/lean on, not some jerk telling them that their feelings are insignificant? Anyway, I am not so much depressed now, as angry and annoyed. I’m angry that I exposed myself. I’m annoyed that I am disappointed, because that implies that my expectations were dashed. I certainly know better than to expect another person to understand me. I’m angry that I am annoyed, because I know my friend meant well and cares, and that in itself does mean a lot to me. I’m also annoyed that my bitterness at life is becoming so obvious only 3 posts into this new blog. I had hoped to encourage others, but I just seem to be venting…
Anyway, in an attempt to end on a more positive note, here are some links about depression.
Beyond Blue – the Australian depression initiative