**Note from the author: Being vulnerable is hard, but sometimes sharing a personal story in hopes to relate to someone reading it is worth the risk. Writing is my passion, and before I was a writer I was a reader. My favorite thing about reading is feeling a connection to the author and being able to relate through the words that were written. I believe words have a lot of power and they can aid people in many ways. I chose this topic so others who can relate are aware they are not alone. Sometimes I think it is nice to be reassured every now and then that you are not the only one who feels a certain way.
By- Traci Taylor
Live, Thrive, & Be Vulnerable series
There’s a stigma in society about depression and how it is perceived. Unfortunately, because of this people who do not understand what it feels like to not want to get out of bed until three in the afternoon think it is mere laziness. That way of thinking is pure ignorance to the people suffering with depression. I was petrified to even consider the fact that I may be depressed because of the entire stigma around it. So, I self medicated with alcohol and ultimately became someone who was depressed with an alcohol problem.
Living with depression is extremely difficult; especially when people around you aren’t aware the smile on your face is complete bullshit. Some days aren’t as hard to get through as others, but life is no cake walk for the people who are suffering. Trying to describe the feeling is somewhat impossible, unless you have an idea of how staying in bed hidden under the covers seems easier than conquering any sort of daily routine.
Writing has been my choice outlet with coping with depression. Up until a few months ago I chose alcohol and other ways to ignore my own feelings. I was young, and I didn’t want to believe someone could feel as sad as I did, so I drank instead. I got lucky back in October with the wake-up call that I had. I knew I either had to make drastic changes or eventually really destroy myself.
Some days aren’t as bad as others, but the thing with depression is it sneaks up on you in many ways. Things can seem to be going really well in life, but then you wake up sad without any clue as to why. So, the only solution that seems logical is to stay in bed as long as possible. Although I have finally chosen to look to therapy and other healthy outlets to cope with this sadness I still don’t have the ultimate answer. I don’t think anyone does, and truthfully I don’t think it is that simple.
I’m not an expert on the medical terms, but I am experienced on how difficult it is to live with. Overall, I am a generally happy individual who loves and appreciates life. Just because I deal with depression and am now sober does not change my personality entirely. In fact I believe the people who have similar struggles and still manage to light up a room with their smile are the strongest people I know in my own life. They are the kind of people in society that should be admired.
Until now I was pretty non-vocal about the inner struggles I had been going through. Even in today’s world there are still people that are quick to judge at any particular flaw, so I think my hesitation to admit I was a drunk depressed lesbian goes without saying. People fear the unfamiliar and aren’t welcoming to things they may be ignorant to.
My alcohol problem began for plenty of reasons and spun out of control as those reasons grew. I was in the closet the majority of my life (which chances are aided in my depression) and that really sucked. At one point I was so far in that closet I was probably buried in dust with all of my TY Beanie Babies.My therapist liked to use the term of me fearing to come out for so long as, “internalized homophobia”. I took many of weeks to let that term sink in and discovered how on point she was.
I struggled to admit who I was and couldn’t even see that it was a factor in my sadness. I drank instead, a lot. Alcohol was the best friend I had who could make me blur out things I didn’t want to cope with. Dealing with things while under the influence seemed a lot easier than being sober. In fact I was drunk off my ass on tequila when I first admitted to my best friend at the time I thought I was gay.
Admitting to myself that I was gay took a huge weight off of my shoulders, but added a fear of telling loved ones in my life what took me so long to admit to myself. That was a very long road for me which I got through with support from others and lots of whiskey.
If anyone you know in life suffers from depression, I have only one suggestion: always be supportive, but do not try to fix the individual. It may seem frustrating, but the truth is you have no power over the sadness that individual is feeling. The cause for their emotional state has nothing to do with anyone; that is just how depression runs its course. It is a sort of sadness that cannot simply be changed with a flick of a switch. Just be there, be understanding, and understand sometimes with depression being alone for a few moments may be needed.
It begins to get slightly easier living with depression when a person learns to love themselves and surround themselves with positive, loving people. Toxic relationships I have found do not better a person, they only seem to make things worse (depressed or not get rid of those kinds of people in your life, trust me on this). The thing with depression is, even in a room full of people there can be an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. That’s why it is vital for those around people going through depression to fully be aware of the core truth to the suffering.
One step at a time or day by day- both expressions I find myself using over the past few months. Surprisingly life seems to be easier to tackle when it is dealt with in small doses instead of overwhelming amounts. I’m not an expert by any means, but I write from experience (after all shouldn’t we listen to those who have treaded the waters, not just read about them?). Life is about learning as you go, and appreciating each moment lived. Some days the skies are still filled with storm clouds, but it’s about being able to find the beauty in the rain that makes life so magnificent.