Depression is Not a Choice. I Repeat, DEPRESSION IS NOT A CHOICE
I might have mistaken my selfishness with depression, or my depression with selfishness.
Before getting into psychology, I didn’t understand how real depression could be and how present it had been in my life. Growing up and adjusting to life after my dad passed away when I was seven, my sister and I moved from place to place for almost three consecutive years while my mom was working abroad to support us. We were always new; either at school or to a family. As a result, I never felt that I truly belonged somewhere and I always felt like an outsider.
At the age of ten, the thought of disappearing by means of taking away my own life had been something that played in my head constantly. I used to think it would be the best solution to my problems or situations that I didn’t want to be in. I self-harmed from time to time until I was sixteen or seventeen, but I was scared to push through it and wind up alive in the emergency room. It’s this vicious cycle that sometimes I wasn’t even sure if I’m depressed or just lazy and selfish. I was scared that people would just think of me as an attention seeker. I never knew how to confide with people so I’ve always kept things to myself because of my fear that people won’t understand. I was afraid to be laughed at and criticized for how shallow my problems would seem to others even to my own family.
By being the way I was, I felt that I was also being selfish because depression has it’s way of making it difficult to focus on anything else but ourselves. People with depression tend to only focus on their negative side, which makes things worse and leads to extreme sorrow. Perpetuating this sadness and doing nothing can hurt the people we love. I remember being extremely needy while I was in a relationship or just even with my friends. I constantly needed to feel that my presence was wanted but on other days I’m nowhere to be found. I missed out on a lot and I’ve hurt the people I love constantly to the point that it was just selfish.
Despite overcoming every obstacle, I believe in depression and the place it makes that sucks people in at times for no reason at all. You could just wake up one day with a heavy cloud over you reminding you of each wrong turn you took that you thought you’ve already grieved for, and depression will find a reason to make you feel sorry to be alive. I remember being in this dark, dark place where I felt so hopeless, empty, and unworthy. It made me believe that I wasn’t enough and the things I do will never be good enough. I remember it clearly because some days I still find myself in that place but I chose and will always choose to overcome it.
As present depression may seem to be in my life and knowing people close to me who battles with it as well, I believe that managing depression is a choice and it’s a start to overcoming it. I know positive thinking and having faith is a huge help but I cannot control the chemical imbalance in my brain. It is a choice to manage depression by making a constant effort to focus on things that we’re grateful for. Although we can’t control the things we see, the thoughts, words, and actions of other people, we can control our own thoughts, words, and actions. We can chose to make decisions that can proactively make our lives better and make living worthwhile.