The 'D' word is something that I used to think was used more as a superlative than an actual condition. The kind of thing that is on par with saying "I'm starving" when you're just pretty hungry. You're not actually starving in the sense that your body is deteriorating if you don't eat, you're just hungry. Depression, to me, always seemed to be the same kind of thing. You're not 'depressed', you're just stressed or feel a bit sad at that moment.
It's only until you actually go through it that you realise that it really is more than that.
You see depression is a long-lying thing that hangs in the back of your mind and the pit of your stomach. The same kind of thought as when you have a particularly frustrating task at work that you can't find the right grip or time on to actually get on with it.
It's pretty annoying to be honest. Having this feeling that's there when you go to sleep and when you wake up again. Like having Droopy Dog sitting next to you at all times. He might be talking about something interesting or funny, but his voice just drives you up the wall and no matter how much you might want to lash out at him, you can't because either you feel like you're tied down by the gravitational pull of Jupiter or because you remember that he isn't real and is just a figment of your imagination.
And you tell people you feel depressed, but they think how I felt in the first paragraph. They'll say "cheer up" or "forget about it", "move on", "everything's gonna be OK" and for a brief moment you know it will be. You make plans like a regular person, you think about holidays and weekends and career aspirations, but there's always that little niggle in the back of your head.
Comedy has always been a profession of depression. Standing on stage, you make people laugh about your own bad experiences and you put yourself down for others amusement. Robin Williams, whose death I am still grieving, was one of the funniest persons in the world, and he struggled with the condition right up until he sadly took his own life. Now I'm not saying that I would do that, but it's one of those things that you think about. A brief flash before you get over it.
The depression that I have personally felt looks like laziness. In fact, when living with someone else, that is exactly how they perceive it. As a result they get annoyed and angry, but the reality is that you just don't feel like doing anything. Your mind is full of creative ideas but the part of your brain that gets you up and out of bed every day is out of gas.
There isn't really any major purpose to this blog to be honest. It's more of a vent and a way for me to put things out there. I've had good days and bad days, particularly recently. There's been days that I've performed for everyone I've met, a personal show, so to speak. And there's been days when I've genuinely been so down that I've wondered what I'm even doing with my life.
Those who are close to me know what's been going on in my life recently, and the agonising time I've had over deciding something that can seem fairly simple, but in reality really isn't. The only thing that I've felt has helped has been keeping busy and latching onto a routine. Some sort of consistency.
That's the problem with depression, there's no consistency. It really is up and down, and sometimes it's the consistency, even the somewhat boring routine, or life and work and school that can help combat it because when the ups come, it's great, but the downs are absolutely awful.
My best advice to someone with depression is to just keep going. It might feel like you're trudging through a giant field of mud and that the further you go, the more shit you get covered in, but you just need to step one foot in front of the other.
My best advice to someone who knows somebody with depression is to just treat them like normal. Don't go on and on about what they should do or what you would do. They don't want to hear it. What they want is to be left alone to think as they power through that field/day/week. Get them onto a routine. Something as simple as getting up, showered and dressed is at least a day not spent moping in bed watching YouTube.
My final word is this. Depression isn't what it used to be. But it's certainly not plain sailing yet. We need to be prepared to speak out about it, to use our voice and say how we feel. Letting someone know about how you feel is the best way to step in the right direction.