Thursday, March 12, 2015

Get Over It!

“Suck it up!”
“Get over it.”
“Move on.”

Those of us who suffer with depression and anxiety/panic attacks have heard each of these, or some variation thereof, too many times to count. While it is demeaning to say such things to those of us who experience depression and anxiety, it is also as futile and insulting as saying the same thing to someone with cancer, heart disease, or even a broken leg! Whether a person suffers from a physical illness, disease or injury or a form of “mental illness” (I still don't like that term; there must be a kinder way of saying it) the fact still remains that the person in question is SUFFERING! And that suffering is very real.

However, I do think there comes a time when sucking it up, getting over it, and moving on might just be the right thing for us to do.

Now, I realize that statement will elicit cries of protest from some of my readers, but let me explain.

We all know at the subconscious level, and many of us have said aloud, “Nobody understands; it's like they sometimes don't care.” That's all true, in the same way I can't understand how skydiving feels. Like a skydiver, we offer to try to explain to all who would listen, but our words fall short.

Here is where the moving on must take place. No matter how compassionate and willing to listen our friends, family and loved ones are, they will never be able to feel what we feel. If we try too hard, we will drive them away. I have a very dear friend who afforded me great comfort during a time of profound loss and sadness. Throughout the years, we strengthened our friendship, and shared many good times and innumerable laughs. But there eventually came a time when my depression was weighing as much on her as it was on me. I was metaphorically a huge weight that was dragging her down and drowning her! She stopped calling to ask how I was doing; her e-mail responses grew short and curt, she was avoiding me...

I don't blame her in any way. She has always been very upbeat and optimistic, sharing her joi-de-vivre and optimism with those with whom she came in contact. Why should she spend her time trying to raise the spirits of one person, no matter how close the friendship had been?  It just gets to be too much to bear.

Friends come and go, and some will go quickly when our need for comfort exceeds their capacity to give it. This is a terrible loss for all involved, and for this reason, I got over it and moved on. I still experience depression and anxiety, but I no longer share each occurrence; it's too painful to lose friends. Instead, I put on a smile and act as though all is well in my world. Know what? All IS well in my world! By smiling and appearing happy, I have BECOME happy again, like I once was, so long ago. My periods of depression and anxiety don't last very long now either.

I know each of you reading this has the same potential as I have. I'm nothing exceptional, and to use a tired old (but very true) cliché, if I can do it, so can you!

Good luck and many Blessings to you!

~Still Wandering...