My Unfortunate Realization About Depression

Throughout my life I have been fortunate.  I grew up in a great neighborhood with two loving parents who supported me at every turn and was able to get a college education.  Recently, I’ve also discovered that I am fortunate because I am a happy person.  When my mom first started telling me how happy of a person I was, I didn’t quite understand what she was saying.  I agreed with her, but never thought about what my mom was really saying until a few years later.

During my happy life, I was surrounded by a few close family and friends who were not as fortunate as I was.  I knew what depression was early on and as I grew up it became almost normal to know that someone wasn’t doing well because of their depression.  I would try to help when I could, hoping that I was able to brighten up their day, but sometimes I felt like nothing I could do worked.  This continued on as I grew up, and even into college.

As I went through college, I continued to see my close family and friends suffer through depression, but I started to think about their depression differently.  When I started to see this new side of depression, I realized something that I’m surprised I didn’t realize earlier.

No matter how hard I try, I will never fully understand depression, simply because I don’t suffer from depression.

I understand how depression works, and I fully understand what the disease does, but I will never know what it’s like to feel so down that I cannot function.  I might wake up one morning feeling bad, but I will be able to get out of bed and continue on like normal.  I will never wake up feeling so upset that I physically cannot leave my bed.  I will never understand what the disease mentally does; I will only ever be able to see it from the outside.

While I felt this was a hard realization to come to, there’s also a part of me that feels I needed to come to this realization.  I’ve learned that instead of trying to understand what people who suffer from depression are going through, I should learn the best way to help them get through it.  When in doubt, a hug usually goes a long way, and sometimes even looking towards the positives in the future can help every once in a while.  No matter what, I love the people who surround me, and no matter what they suffer from I know we will be able to get through it together.