The Battles We Hide 1


We live in a world more connected than ever.

We have devices informing us of our friends activities at all times.  I see personal pictures of friends, kids, family, and people I have not even heard from for years.

I get to see what an acquaintance from middle school had for lunch with multiple pictures and a selfie of them with their sushi.

How can we be over-inundated with every facet of the lives all around us. . . yet feel so very, very alone?

depression2

 

Robin Williams recently died.  I grew up watching all his movies and enjoyed the majority.  He was consistently hilarious and seemed to be honestly humorous to his core.  From any outsider looking in, he seemed to be a man filled with joy.  Despite this he took his own life.  This saddened many, myself included, and many even made tributes to him.  I never knew him, and I can’t say I knew the struggle he dealt with.  But I have known people with crippling depression.

 

When I was in medical school, I had two roommates.  Both of these two men were extremely intelligent, talented, and fun guys to be with.  They were both one year ahead of me in med school, but we continuously hung out.

Medical school is extremely demanding mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It is a place where you must work extremely hard and perform at your best at all times.  Personally, I felt intimidated and overwhelmed much of the time.

My roommate, who (to be honest) was smarter than me, was doing fine in medschool, but then he became depressed.  He was smart, gifted, fun to be around, but depression crippled him to the point where he could barely function.  He signed himself into the hospital and received help.

Despite support from many sources, he struggled for months trying to find the peace he was searching for.  Ultimately, he dropped out of medical school.  Years later he became a teacher.  This is after finishing a full year of medical school and doing very well.  My other roommate and I tried to be as supportive as possible.  Depression, however, is a bitch.

He taught for a while, adding grace and support to some of the hardest kids to teach imaginable.  Time passed and distance separated us.  As often happens, we lost touch.  I saw him less and less, maybe once a year.  When I talked to him he sounded like he was doing much better.

Then he killed himself.

He was handsome, smart (brilliant actually), so very kind, compassionate, and a simply good man.  Despite this, he became overwhelmed.

 

I’d like to think that not many people feel this badly, but, unfortunately, many do.  We spend so much time trying to make everyone happy, trying to be accepted by everyone and liked by everyone, that we forget to like ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong, American society often has a “me first” attitude, but nearly all of that attitude is centered on the frivolous and short-lived.

Perhaps the goal of our lives should not be the elusive, ethereal entity we define as happiness.  Maybe we should instead focus on love.  Being loved is simply the most wonderful thing in the world.  Having someone to love is equally fantastic.  People often term depression as the lack of happiness, which in my humble opinion, is a terrible definition.  It goes so much deeper than this.

Depression is a lack of motivation.  Depression is lack of feeling, lack of joy.  Utter emptiness.  Depression is being surrounded by the noise of a thousand people yet feeling absolutely and completely alone.  Depression is hollowness echoing through you so completely that the nothingness you feel can never and will never be filled with anything but despair.

I’ve known several truly depressed people.

If you are depressed, know that it can get better.  There is hope.

Know you are worthwhile.

Know that you are loved.

True worth does not come from how many likes you get, how many friends you have, or how popular you are.  True worth comes from within.  It comes from the choices you make, and the love you give.  Not only that, but everyone, EVERYONE, has made terrible mistakes.  But as long as we keep learning, loving, and striving, true joy will come.

 

Also, this link is possibly one of the best explanations of true depression you will ever find.  It is crude, but poignant.

Hyperbole and a half: Depression

 

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