This is a little rambly, I’m sorry, but I have very scatterbrained thought patterns lol.
I have had depression from a young age. I think I first started struggling with depression from 12 years old. There’s a lot of details that go along with my battle with depression that I won’t be talking about right now. But I want to address the feeling of
having to paint on a smile. Anyone who struggles with or has struggled with depression will understand what I’m talking about. You may even understand if you were close to someone who battles depression. In America, emotions are almost like Taboo. Everyone wants you to only show happy emotions. Anytime you emote sad, angry, or fearful emotions, you’re told to “Cheer Up.” I absolutely hate when people say that to me. It’s really not that simple.
Emotions are so healthy and necessary. Even with depression, it’s healthier to feel and try to understand what you’re feeling than to be angry with the fact that you aren’t happy. Unfortunately, we are told to just “be happy” and that it’ll “all be okay and you shouldn’t be sad.” That just makes me feel worse when I’m experiencing a low.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek help if your depression is hitting a low. I’m also not saying that you should just wallow in the emotions you experience. We all know that our mental health system isn’t all that great, but it’s making huge strides forward.
I am saying, though, that you can BE sad, you can BE angry. You should experience those and acknowledge those feelings. Don’t bottle up all of your feelings. Don’t hide your pain from the world. Don’t tell someone who is showing you their pain and hurt to “just cheer up” or even worse, ignore them because you don’t know how to deal with emotions. Instead, just offer your ear to hear. Be compassionate, be encouraging, be there. I spent many, many years hiding my pain. I still just say I’m tired when someone asks if I’m doing okay. I am tired, but I’m also struggling. It’s hard, as a parent, to struggle with depression. It effects your entire family and you’re afraid of telling someone or seeking help because you’re fearful CPS will somehow get involved and take your kids.
(CPS is so messed up too. Our country is a mess, guys 😦 ) But do it. Get the help. It’ll help every aspect of your life. Exercise, take Vitamin D, Eat well. All of these things help. But the biggest thing is, don’t be angry with yourself for feeling what you’re feeling. Don’t bottle your emotions just because America is uncomfortable with real life. I feel like we’d have way less depressed people if we could just emote the way we were made to. And guys, if someone is showing sad and miserable emotions-don’t be angry at them and don’t ignore or dismiss them. Validate them and comfort them in whatever way they need. Just BE there for them to emote. It goes a long, long way.