By JW Holland
Over time in my life, especially before I started treatment, I had times when depression and anxiety would almost completely shut me down. I still managed to appear alive and well, but inside, there was nothing but fear. The kind of fear that only allows you to see doom and everything in life that ends badly.
It’s not a good feeling at all, but the effect it has on those around me is just as hard on me.
My wild mood swings put strains on even the best of relationships. It is usually written off as hatred or a general ill will, but it is much more.
Those of you who have struggled with this terrible ordeal will understand. The problem, however, is that people who are not cursed with this disease sometimes find it difficult to accept that it is out of the control of the person affected.
What seems small to you is out of proportion to us, and the reactions seem extreme and out of line.
At my worst, I was a horrible person, unable to reason or be comforted. I will throw away all the common decency I have and take my pain out on whoever is there. If you’ve made the slightest mistake or said the wrong thing at the wrong time, you’ve seen a different side of me, one that I’m not proud of.
Those times were hard for everyone, especially me. In my head, even as they were happening, I was yelling at myself inside to stop, just stop! But I can’t, I don’t know how, and sometimes I wonder if I still want to.
There were many things I said at that moment, most of them I regret, but the problem was all the things I couldn’t say. The things that won’t really come out of my mouth.
My brain doesn’t allow it; my feelings held them in place my depression locked them away in a place I couldn’t access. For many of us, especially men, it is difficult to fully express our emotions, feelings, and thoughts. When you mix depression and anxiety, those things become a near impossibility.
In those moments, there were things I couldn’t say no matter how hard I tried. Many men have the same struggle, and it’s important to recognize that this is the case.
Here are 4 heartbreaking things that people struggling with depression won’t tell you:
1. We cannot tell what is wrong
When someone feels bad or seems upset about something, many people want to try to fix it, especially spouses. The only way they can say they can help is if we tell them what’s wrong. The problem is we don’t know, we have no idea what’s wrong.
We know deep down that whatever the trigger is probably not the real issue. We want to be able to say what is wrong; we want to calm down and forget but we can’t.
2. We can’t say sorry
In the heat of the moment, in the midst of an episode of depression or anxiety, what we say is likely to hurt. We may have even made you cry, and we’re sorry we couldn’t express it. At least, for me, it’s a defense mechanism to somehow prove to myself that I’m right about any irrational thoughts running through my head.
An apology usually comes later, and even when it’s difficult and often comes in a different form. The problem is it’s usually too late, and the damage has already been done.
3. We can’t say we need space
I could never, even though I knew I was in a bad place mentally, not express that I needed some time alone.
This is actually when the most painful thing I can say comes out. It wasn’t that I meant any of it, it is that I need to be left alone, I need space, and I need time to gather myself I just couldn’t say it. I know that sounds ridiculous and a bit childish, but it’s true the more I push, the more vicious I get until I push someone away.
4. We can’t say we need help
This is true for many men with mental health problems. We still live in a society that looks down on those who admit there may be a problem. Our culture is changing, but it is too slow. We are taught from an early age not to show weakness, and this only exacerbates the difficulty of finding treatment. When we finally admit to ourselves that something isn’t right, we still can’t express it to others.
It took me so long, so long, to be admitted to anyone and get treatment. The time I wasted brought me some great experiences and opportunities. Regret is always there.
I’m certainly no mental health expert, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. I know how this terrible disease has ruined my life and the life of my family. It’s not something I’m proud of, and the pain I’ve caused may never be fully forgiven. All I can do moving forward is take care of myself and work to get better every day.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSAs National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text “HELLO” to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line.
JW Holland is a blogger and former politics editor at The Good Men Project. He has been featured on Babble, Fatherly, and more.
#Heartbreaking #People #Battling #Depression #Wont
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