Just Don’t Fucking Say It: My Problem With “Just snap out of it.”

People who don’t suffer depression see the world through much different and much clearer lenses then those of us who do. It seems to me that these people have the idea that depressions is just feeling sad, like they do when they wake up in the morning and feel “off” or not themselves. They will start their day and by lunchtime they are being back to their normal happy selves.

Somehow many people expect that those of us with depression and just “turn off” depression.

Recently a friend asked what was up, so I explained that I had, just a short time before, been diagnosed with depression.

His response? Pretty much this: “What the hell is the big deal? Everyone that feels a little sad says they have depression.”

Although somewhat miffed, I tried to explain that depression is a lot more and much different than feeling a little blue or sad. And that in my case I often don’t feel anything at all, emotionally numb, if you will. That I have lost enjoyment in thing I used to really enjoy such as; my photography, running (although for me it’s more honestly power walking) and yes, even sex.

“It sounds more like you’re just being lazy. Just snap out of it.”

It was at this point that I really started to lose my temper and thought it was in the best interest of both of us that I leave his place.

Clinical Depression is not something a person shrugs off during the day, it’s not just feeling a little down,  for me it’s more like this:

Imagine waking up, going downstairs for your morning coffee before work, sitting down with your mug, a cat snuggles into your lap, and you watch the morning sky turn from dark to bright red. you know that this is what should be a really pleasant time but you feel: Nothing

 

Now imagine being a photographer. You’ve won a couple of small awards for photographs and you have had some of your work in exhibitions in college. You also know that even though you SHOULD be really enjoying taking photographs, your camera bag is right there and ready to go, it doesn’t hold any interest for you anymore.

That is part of what depression feels like for me. Besides the inability to sleep through a whole night many times and the feeling of general listlessness.

It feels like I have been somehow set apart from people, things and activities that I enjoyed and that enjoyment of them is at this time, out of reach.

“Just snap out of it.” Like in some way I want to feel like this or it is a simple matter of deciding to be happy.

If this sounds like I am being overly sensitive, remember that the person that said it was a guy that I had grown up with, by best friend, and for some reason thought may be supportive.

Ignorance and support, I now know, are mutually exclusive.

So please, if someone tries to explain what depression is and how they feel; don’t ever fucking say:

“Just snap out of it.”

 

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6 thoughts on “Just Don’t Fucking Say It: My Problem With “Just snap out of it.”

  1. I totally agree. If I could “just snap out of” my own depression I would. Unfortunately, without proper diet, good meds, and taking what action I can to change the situations that vex me the most, my depression likely will not go away, or will lurk just beneath the surface until something triggers it again.

  2. Your “friend” was so misinformed, as many people are. People say “I’m depressed” when they ‘re only experiencing the normal bad days we all experience from time to time. I’m a strong advocate of using our words rightly. Depression is awful. Unless a person has been there, they can’t understand. Having said that, though, we do have a personal responsibility in our depression to make sure we examine all the ways we contribute to our depression. I’ve written a lot about this. Check it out. I will remember you in my prayers tomorrow. God bless.

  3. That guy was a douchecanoe, if I’m honest. I know that a lot of people “say” they’re depressed these days but you were diagnosed! How can he disrespect not only your word, but the word of a trained professional?

    I’ve been through the numbness, and while it was so long ago that I don’t exactly remember how it felt, I remember saying back then that I would do anything to feel something again. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that, because it IS just as bad as being sad or upset. Recently for me, it’s morphed more into crippling despair and self doubt. I suppose I am one of the people your friend was talking about – I have never been diagnosed because I have never gone to a counselor, I don’t want to take meds, etc (I saw how badly Zoloft messed up my boyfriend. He became a bitter zombie with no self-preservation instinct, and since I’m prone to self-harm thoughts….*shudder* I don’t think that would end well). Not to mention, something is only technically a “disorder” when it interferes with your life, and up til this year, it never really interfered with mine. But for almost a year I’ve felt like there’s this weight constantly on me and as much as I keep hoping for it to lift, it just…doesn’t.

    • Thanks again, Michelle,

      What seems strange to me (IMHO is that so many great creative types are (or were) in some form self defeating, Faulkner, drinking himself to death, Vonnegut and Dickinson and their depression not to mention Einstein with his. We seem to be in some pretty good company (And I won’t even touch the brilliant writing of Hunter S Thompson. Guilt pleasure- one of my favorites). Sometimes the best thing we can do is persevere and if we get really lucky, transcend.

      My guess is that that is where a lot of find inspiration, in the support of each other.

      Best of luck with “Paradisa” I’m looking forward to reading it.

      Maybe we can beta read for each other on our next novels?

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