Marinashutup: What They Don’t Tell You About Depression (and my commentary)

Today I’m going to share two videos made by a youtuber Marinashutup, where she talks about her experience with depression. I agree almost completely with her and I will comment more down after the videos.

The first video is true in the sense that after starting taking antidepressants, you can experience a lot of energy and positive feelings, because your brain is on fire, metaphorically speaking. I know this, because I experienced it too, after taking the pills several weeks, I felt like I was bathing in sunshine and positive feelings every single second. It was great, but it didn’t last forever. Back then my psychiatrist told me that this is normal experience, way to kill my buzz… It is kind of naive, but I like the numbers she mentions, about the number of people affected and treated. It’s scary and sad.

I agree a lot with Marina with what she says in the second video. It is hard to admit to yourself, that you’re not ok. Getting diagnosed and treated is not easy, there is a lot of stigma. I mentioned in my previous post that I waited too long because I was afraid of the label “mentally ill”. And also, because I read about this, of course, but I had never thought it could happen to me. What she calls a relapse in the video, it’s what I call a roller-coaster in my blog. I go up and I go down and it can be really exhausting. In my case, the relapse can take from several hours to several days or weeks. Usually I can spot it, I get too tired, too emotional, too restless and anxious, sad and feel really bad… Really, after years with this disorder, I usually get the message. I can even spot it in my blog, the very bad and sad posts I put here, those are the moments when I relapse. It’s not permanent, I get back eventually, but it is exhausting.

I also like that she stresses the problem of disbelieve. Mental problems tend to be dismissed, especially in teenagers. I wrote a post, which you can find here, when I was really sad and emotional after reading a discussion on a page dealing with mental disorders. I admit, when I read about people dealing with similar issues, I get teary a lot. It hurts me that so many people go through this, nobody deserves this! And saying to them they just made it up? That’s the worst, don’t do that. Somehow, some people think I need to flaunt my disorder to feel special, yeah… It feels really special to know my brain is not working as it should, I feel like a totally¬† special person.

I think Marina makes good points and I admire her courage to share her experience.

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Wearing a Mask

What does it feel to live with depression? Mostly, it feels like wearing a mask. I have worn it most of my life and only recently put it down, occasionally. I have learnt to act very well, for the sake of the people I love.

For me, it speaks volume what my mum said when I told her about my problems a year ago. She was surprised, she never suspected anything. Why should she, I made the effort not to let her know. On surface, I was normal girl, I wasn’t super popular, but I had some friends, I was a good student and daughter, there was nothing wrong with me, right? Well, there was, a lot. I don’t remeber how many times I have hid my feelings, how much strenght did it take not to show anything. I learnt to cry silently, not to wake up my sister or anyone, I learnt to take a few deep breaths before entering home, to calm down and look happy. When I didn’t understand what was going on with me, I didn’t know how to express it and when I knew, I didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially my parents.

I felt… guilty. Guilty of being unhappy when I had almost everything. My parents are not rich, but they have always done a lot for me and my sister. They let me go on pretty much every foreign trip with school, they even let me go to London on my own and I was barely eighteen! Yes, my sister studied there, but I spent all they on my own, travelling through the big city, I have been to England about five or six times so far, I have been to Spain and to Netherlands also. Yes, my parents say it’s because they supported my sister in London, so they had felt guilty of not allowing me something similar, but still… I really had nothing to complain about, yet I wasn’t happy. Most of my teen years my sister was in London, so crying in bed was possible, since nobody could hear me. I hurt, badly, I felt lost and ashamed of myself. I couldn’t tell my parents, I was afraid of hurting them and I didn’t want to hurt them, at any cost. At since I paid the cost, it was ok, right? I felt that I deserved it, I was ungrateful person, so I deserved the pain.

I still wear the mask, very often. I don’t want to be a nuisance. I know people have their own lives and they don’t need me to add to their problems. The only problem is that it turns againt me sometimes. Recently, my partner told me he has felt like I don’t let him be close, I don’t let him help me with anything. Sadly, that is true, my quest for not being a burden has taking interesting twist with me rather doing everything than to ask for help. So after being together for almost five years, my boyfriend still feels that I don’t let him close to me and I don’t let us be a team. The things is, I don’t know how to do this. I’m afraid, that if I let him close, he finds me too difficult to live with and leaves me. Pathetic, right?

I honestly don’t know how to get from this circle, sometimes I wish to be literally invisible not to stand in anyone’s way and I would appologize for asking even something important. I don’t speak about worries or wishes, I would do anything to make people happy. Because most of all, I’m afraid to let people see me, because I’m convinced, that they would leave me. So I wear a mask and I’m really good at it.

Suicide and Homicide, the Role Models for Mentally Ill

One of the inspirations for this entry was an article from another blogger living with schizophrenia. I recommend you to read it: This Has Been Heavily Edited to Suit All Audiences.

 

Role models. Those are people who inspire us in some way, we want to achieve what they did, look like they do or something like that. We try to imitate them, behave like them, dress like them, talk like them, so we can have something they have. It might be a successful person in bussiness, it might be our parents, it might be a fictional character and so on. The “fun” starts, when you have some mental illness. Oh yes, looking for someone to inspire you is…well, bitter to say the least.

I tried to think about some famous people in my country with mental illness. I came up with few, one died of heart attack at pretty early age, one combined alcohol and pills and the combination was lethal, one died in mental hospital, because his illness got worse, the other two comitted suicide… When it comes to famous people abroad, some singer, actor, politician, just someone, I can’t come up with anyone. Well, I can, but Robin Williams also comitted suicide, so…

And that’s the “fun”! Think about representation of mental illnesses in media. How many fictional characters can you come up with that are mentally ill, but have normal happy life? How many of these stories are in news? Honestly, I can’t think of even one… But how many fictional villains are mentally ill? They are depressed, schizofrenic, just twisted personalities… Yeah, maaany… And news representation? Oh yes, stories of a mentally ill murderers are common, just think about the last one, which inspired me to write this blog.

The German pilot crashed a plane in Alps and killed 149 people and himself. That itself is terrible, but at least for a week media was full of him being depressed as the reason for this act. I stopped reading articles about this right after this discovery, it was too much. Unfortunatelly, I wasn’t spared the “depressed people are crazy” sort of comment and it actually came from my partner… He read some article and then said something like “it turns out that the pilot was crazy, he was depressed”. I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember the feeling. He sat with his back to me, so he couldn’t see my face, but I felt like I froze in place. And then I got really angry, thinking if this is what people think about me behind my back, that I’m crazy. Then I got bitter, wondering if I can actually be angry about that, considering what is the media representation of mentally ill people. And then I just got really tired of this situation…

We are portrayed as crazy people who cannot control themselves, who are just incapable of living normal life. Which is harmful in so many ways. First of all, think about the people who just realized they might have some mental problems, but are afraid to see a doctor and get treatment, because they are afraid of being labeled as “crazy”. Second, think of the people who are living with some mental problems, what are the messages they get, there are no role models for us, who would give us hope that we can live pretty normal life despite our problems. Yeah, our self-esteem might get really low because of this at times… Third, think about our families and friends, how are they to cope with our problems, when the messages they get are again that we are crazy, unable to control ourselves, our lives are doomed. Fourth, what about the strangers we meet, for example when we apply for a job, should we tell them, will it influence their opinion about us, will they think us uncapable of performing the job? And so on…

As I was looking up some mentally ill famous people, I made a mistake and read some comments under the articles about their deaths. And there is was, some people writing that people just need to work more, that they make this up to feel important or different, that they are just weak, because nobody strong would ever fall for such a nonsense. Oh and one saying that living with such a person (meaning mentally ill person) is something nobody could ever stand for more than few days. It felt really “great”, but it didn’t really surprised me…

It makes me frustrated and tired. I would really love to see someone out there, who I can relate to, who has mental problems and is happy and living normal life. May be even famous and successful. I’m tired of media emphasizing the fact that some murderer was mentally ill in a way to say “you see, normal person would never do that, this is just a crazy person”. Or in the case of the pilot, it is “you don’t have to be afraid of flying, this is just an isolated case of crazy person, nobody normal would ever do such a thing”. Which feels very “supportive”. I’m tired of questions popping up in my head, wondering if I actually have a chance for normal happy life, wondering if this is not exactly the reality that awaits me, ending up as another one commiting suicide, because they can’t take it anymore. I’m just tired of all this. And fed up of dealing with this everyday.

Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share

This is an amazing TED talk by Andrew Solomon and I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn something new about depression and anxiety. I can absolutely relate to his experience and his opinions, I went through all the stages of depression he describes, I went through the thinking of “where do I start and where my medication starts, what’s real and what’s not”. This is really amazingly personal and also informative video about depression and I’m so glad that Mr. Solomon put all those thoughts and information into his talk. I mean, I cannot stress enough how truthful is everything he says, it was so great to listen to someone and feeling like “wow, I’m not the only one feeling this way”!

There Are So Many People Out There

I went to my psychiatrist to get a paper to school, so I can ask for lower tuition fee and I found there a poster for a website about depressions. I decided to check it, because I want to learn some more information about my disorder and to find some professional staff I could post here, beside of the creations of my malfunctioning brain.

It was a good and also bad decision. Good because there really are useful information for me and also for people outside these problems, bad because the web has a section for personal stories… So many people! I mean literally, so many people asking, if their problems are normal, if this is curable, saying they’re exhausted of all this. It almost made me cry, because I wish I could tell all these people, that there is a chance for them! That what they’re going through is hard and painful, but it doesn’t have to be like that, that they are not weird or broken, because they feel this way. How is it possible that so many people still have to suffer the pain and shame and exhaustion, because there is a lack of information about mental health?! I mean, we can travel to space, we can travel pretty much anywhere anytime around the Earth, yet some teenage girl writes there that when she talks about depression with her parents, her mother laughs and her father thinks she just wants to skip school! It makes me so angry! I was that teenage girl, afraid to tell her parents, afraid to tell my friends, putting up a mask of perfect daughter, perfect student, yet inside suffering terribly, desperately wanting someone to tell me that I’m not making this up, that I’m not alone, that I’m not crazy! Well, when I told my friends, just about five of them actually tried to understand, the rest thought I’m really just seeking attention, so I can understand the girl’s fear. How is it possible that we learn so much about physical health, we know what to eat or don’t, what is healthy, what sports are good and so many stuff, but we don’t learn about mental health?! How how HOW?!?!

Next time someone asks me why I need to “advertise” my depressions, I’ll tell them that THIS is WHY! If I can spread the word about mental disorders to just a hundred people there, most of them my friends on facebook, than I DID SOMETHING! If I can change what just a few people out there think about mental problems, show them that it’s nothing weird or unnatural or laughable or weak or despicable or just bad, then I do a good job! If I change the world just a little little bit, then it’s worth opening up and writing about the darkest thoughts and feelings my mind can produce. Nobody deserves this, NOBODY! I just wish I could hug all these people and tell them that it will get better, tell them, that they are not alone… but I can’t, so this is the least I can do.