Friday, 23 November 2012

Bomb Drop!

Bob-omb borrowed from my friend Mario (IGN & Ninendo copyright)
Today I'm going to drop a bomb by telling you a little something about myself that some people don't know. I have depression. I know, weird right? Don't people with depression like to wear black and frown when they see puppies? Nope! I love everything! I have a beautiful family, I have tons of hobbies, and I love to take on a new challenge, but sometimes the world seems like a very un-doable place to me; I'd like to explain to you why.

I have clinical depression, meaning that it has been disagnosed by doctors and is recognized as a real thing that is going on inside of me. It affects me in every spectrum of my life, and can actually become crippling at times. People get depressed for lots of reasons, but I have a chemical imbalance that wasn't brought on by anything in particular, just luck of the draw. I've had this my whole life, but wasn't diagnosed until I was nineteen years old.

What is depression you ask? It might not be what you think it is. The d-bomb is something that affects everyone differently (much like how any illness will adapt to a persons body). Some people can get on with their day to day things, others can be completely immobilised. Some people have it for a certain chunk of time, others get it to have and to hold for their whole lives.

I'm not a medical professional, so I'll just let you know my story. I'm a very sensitive person and I worry A LOT. Is this because I have depression? Who knows, but having it does augment both of these traits. There are times when I can't walk, eat, speak or even cry because I feel so very numb. That being said, I am also a very excitable and energetic person. I'm clumsy, I laugh at everything, I love fart jokes and rainbows, and if you'll give me a piggyback ride, I will smile until my face cracks in half. There's a lot of light and happiness just oozing out of my eyeballs. I have a lot of traits, it just so happens that sometimes I can't access the happy. There are times when I can't make myself do the things I want to do. I wish that I could explain it better, but if I could, there would be a 'cure' for depression. As it stands now, not a whole lot is known about the hows and whys, just that it's real and a lot of people have it.

Having a mental illness is kind of like showing up naked to a nun filled Christmas party. When people know, you stand out. There are a lot of negative stereotypes that go along with my brain pain. I've been pushed to the side by some people who think that I'm crazy, no fun, lazy or just plain ol' stupid. Depression doesn't make me any of those things. I try to use the sterotypes to my advantage by understanding that if someone can push you aside without getting to know you for themselves, they wouldn't have been great company anyway.

I was inspired to write this post when I read this question on my friends blog. It reminded me of when I first found out about my illness, and when someone I love very much told me never to tell anyone else about it. To anyone out there who is living with mental illness, don't be embarrassed. Yes, there is a lot of negative mojo out there surrounding the topic, but I want you to know this: you have no more control over your illness than someone with diabetes, a broken leg or even cancer does. It sounds cliche, but talking about it helps much more than hiding it. It's also a step forward in having a kind of confidence that is almost as valuable as ice cream. Maybe if everyone talked about it, it wouldn't seem like such a dirty little secret.

I have depression, and you know what? I rock it! My experience with this illness has given me perspectives on life that lots of people will never get. I have a lot of hard times when I feel weak and helpless, but on the days when I have the strength, I can take over the world. I see beauty in absolutely everything, but sometimes I just can't find it in myself. I have to work hard to get myself going sometimes, but when I get started, watch out. I am the happiest depressed girl in the world!

Is everyone with a mental illness going to want keep you in a cage and rename you Mr. Muffins? Nope! Sorry to burst your bubble, but depression does not an insane person make.

An illness doesn't define someone, it's just another trait they have in their holster.

My name is Nichole, I have depression, and I love rainbows.

Hugs and poops,

Nichole

11 comments:

  1. Nikki, i think this is amaizing <3 Hugs!!


    Ali ( i don't have an account to make this not anonymous)

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    1. Thanks Ali :)
      That means a lot to me!

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  2. Nikki,
    you are so brave! Not everyone talks about mental illness, I know lots of people with depression, anxiety, or bipolar and they don't tell people because of the stigma. As someone with a dad who has a mental illness, I get it. I grew up being told to be ashamed, and for a long time I was. Now I'm SO over it. It doesn't define me, or my family.

    I had a bout of situational depression years ago, and it really really sucked. I cried a lot (when I wasn't numb), and couldn't get out of bed. Luckily I still made it to class most days. It's not the same because it was based on life situations, but it gave me the insight to "get it" on some level. I used to think my friend with depression was exaggerating sometimes, now I don't even question it. I'm thankful for that time in my life because it gave me perspective, and helped me understand people with mental illness a bit more.

    I am glad you can say honestly that it has given you perspective. And I hope someday soon you can get to that place where you feel more functional and in control of your depression (as much as one can be I suppose!).

    Thanks for speaking about this <3

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    1. Thanks Mel! Your support makes my heart feel warm!
      There are a lot of stigmas, but when you look back through history there have been harsh stigmas about almost everything. To be 100% honest, I totally understand how someone could look at me and think that I'm lazy, but things aren't always as cut and dry as they appear, and I really like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I think that the right people always understand.

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    2. I agree. I know this isn't at all the same thing, but I have a form of "invisible illness" myself (my digestion troubles). Sometimes I can get really sick and no one feels it but me. If I complain about nausea, people think I'm pregnant, which is really annoying when you're not planning on having kids any time soon (that, and digestion troubles are embarrassing). And I used to feel so bad about it that it made me even sicker with anxiety every time I had to leave the house and see people, which is really new to me because I love being around people. No one gets it, it sucks!! BUT, I decided I would feel better if I just did what made me happy, and not worry about other people. We get invited out for meals a lot, and I just eat what I can and don't apologize for it (overeating was a bit part of my problem). People who spend time with me know that it's not their food, it's my stomach. I feel a lot better about life now, but I went through a really crappy phase last spring. Just thankful to be feeling more like myself again!

      Keep fighting the stigma :)

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    3. It's the same in a lot of ways! Any kind of stigma is hard to deal with, and can cause you a lot of frustration and anxiety (I think).
      Don't worry, when you're at my house, you eat what you want, don't fret! Also, you're not allowed to judge me for eating a box of chocolates in one sitting.

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    4. Haha, I *never* judge chocolate consumption.

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  3. Hey there nerd/cool chick. :) now i know why i think you are just so amazing.... this post demonstrates it. you are courageous, honest, and so so caring about other people... [i will never ever forget your sincerity and deep concern for me when i suffered the loss of austin... you were right there, getting how devastated i was.... and i will forever be grateful and will forever call you my friend.... one i am so proud to be associated with. :)]

    rock on, sister. thanks for sharing....and caring about such an important issue that affects so many people from every single walk of life.

    what i am not sure of, and maybe you can share your thoughts on this, is how - other than empathy and understanding - can your friends support you on the days when the depression gets its tight grasp on you and won't let go? what can i do to make that day a better day?

    peace and love,
    mary, katy, maggie, sophie, and not so little seamus

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    1. Mary, I heart you very, very much. You're so lovely! I can't tell you how much that means to me.

      I can tell you what helps me when I'm having a hard time, but it may not be the same for everyone. Just knowing that someone understands and is there if you decide you can reach out is my number one heart melter. Even though sometimes I can't do it, just knowing that someone is there and ready to help makes a huge difference. Also, it might seem weird, but phone calls and the offer of food/hangout time helps. When I'm down and someone calls to invite me somewhere, or offers help (even though I'll never take it), it gets to me in a very good way. There's no way you can snap me out of it or make it go away, but knowing that someone is there to try definitely makes me feel less alone. This all sounds pretty cliche, huh? But it's true for me. Like I said, I'll never take a person up on their offers, but the fact that they keep trying seems to burrow a little light into the dark (laaamme, I know).

      Thanks for your question Mary! Also, I lub you and the critters <3

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  4. Hey missus,

    Dunno if you remember me, but this is Mike the Grenfell dropout. I found your blog through April's, and I'm really happy to see you doing something so bright and expressive. I commented on this post specifically because I was also diagnosed with clinical D this year after a lot (a LOT) of years of living with it. I am using medication to control it, but I still appreciate you coming out of the closet about it. It's pretty amazing to think a bright spark like yours could be so afflicted, but I'm glad you're handling it, and I love your blog.

    safe journeys,
    mgb

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    1. Thanks a lot Mike :) I can't believe you took the time to read this and comment, that's just so kind and it means the world to me.
      How could I forget you? I still have my bear!
      I also use medication to help live more comfortably. It's a tough challenge to take on every day, but I feel like if the stigma was lessened, it would help things all the more. It's not something to be embarrassed about, and honestly, I've never been very comfortable in closets anyway, no point in hiding in those! :)

      Keep in touch! I'm on Facebook, you can find me through April's friends page :)

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