Nor is it a joke.
Prior to September 3rd 2009, I was a relatively normal, mostly happy, pretty well adjusted person.
Then I lost one of my closest friends.
I’ll never forget that day. Depression robs you of so many things (including your memory), but some things are forever etched so firmly into your memory that no matter what you do, you can’t forget even if you wanted to (and yes, sometimes you really want to).
Everything changed for me that day, I didn’t know to what extent until quite some time later. I just knew that I wasn’t OK and didn’t feel like myself. I had never lost someone so violently and so unexpectedly until that point. I’m no stranger to death as most of my family is gone. It wasn’t until several months later that I started to do some digging into what was wrong with me.
Diagnosis: Type A-Typical depression (typical when you suffer a traumatic event including death or a really bad break up and more). It generally doesn’t last forever and if you’re fortunate, talk therapy is usually the ‘cure’. I say ‘cure’ because depression doesn’t truly go away. It’s a disease and it can lie for a long time before rearing it’s ugly head again. Something that rears it’s ugly head whenever I loose someone that I love.
I also got diagnosed with anxiety, which is depressions best friend.
Along with OCD.
Having to live with all three of these things changes you, it changes who you are. It constantly affects every aspect of your life. Personal and professional and there’s not much you can do except learn to cope with it.
Depression is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. It robs you of your memory, it robs you of energy, it robs you of having a normal life.
It’s not something that I often talk about, there’s a huge stigma and a lot of ignorance surrounding these things. People mean well, but it’s so frustrating that it’s just easier to not say anything at all and try and deal with it the best way you know how. I am also a private, somewhat introverted person. I don’t often share my feelings with most people because they really don’t get it.
I don’t hold that against anyone because it’s not their fault, they haven’t walked the same path(s) that I have, nor have they suffered the same losses that I have either.
It does not however, make it any less real.
Just because it’s not something that you don’t understand, it does not give you the right to dismiss it, nor does it give you the right to mock someone who suffers from these things (and more) so that you can have a laugh at someone else’s expense.
So needless to say, it really upsets me greatly when I hear incidents of people being the butt of someone’s jokes or the punchline or people who deliberately go out of their way to upset someone because THEY think that’s it’s funny.
Because it’s not.
Mental illness is not a game. We have no control over how we react to things, believe me, if we did, we would. So when you openly mock someone that you know, care about or love, you are not only dismissing them, you’re also dismissing their disease.
That’s not okay, that is never, ever okay.
When I see/hear/experience these incidents, it calls into question a persons character. I can’t speak for anyone else but it truly makes me wonder what on earth is wrong with you.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
End the stigma, don’t contribute to it.