I have a good understanding of my depression, and can generally handle it fairly well. As such, I try to help other people who don’t fully understand what they’re going through, or who can’t cope with it as well, or who aren’t lucky enough to have as awesome a support network as me.
Recently I was talking to someone who has only recently begun suffering from depression, and they asked me “How do you cope?” I didn’t know how to answer. I could give them advice on how *they* could cope better (and I had done so, and they found it helpful) but this wasn’t a plea for help. This was honest to goodness curiosity at how I managed to live my life despite my depression. And it was one of those moments where I suddenly realised anew that just because I was good at understanding and dealing with my problems and had a good support network didn’t mean I wasn’t *coping*! I had to take a step back and think about it, and when I did, the answer was:
“I cope with this the same way you do. I cry. I reach out to those close to me and ask them to share my troubles. I cling to every good thing that anyone has ever said to me and I use them as a shield against the voices in my head that try to wear me down. Sometimes it all gets too much and I lash out, or I retreat into myself, and all I can do is to go to bed and sleep it out and hope that the world looks brighter in the morning, and when it doesn’t I reach out for comfort again.”
I guess this is just another example of how easy it is to start thinking that you don’t have problems, and ignoring the negative impact these problems have on your life. It’s so easy to believe that everyone feels this way, and you’re the only one who’s making a big deal of it, until someone like that comes along and reminds you that actually, no! You are struggling with something. You are facing a problem that some people never have to deal with.