People Are Dying: My Problems Aren’t That Bad

As somebody who has lived with depression for about a decade now, I have learned a thing or two about how to get through the rough patches. I’m still getting through rough patches, at times. Some days, I feel sorry for myself and my situation. I have days on which it’s totally easy to breathe and I don’t feel any emotions that are more negative than those a person without depression would experience on quotidian days. I have patches of weeks during which my life is like this. I also have patches of time during which the simplest act of breathing is a challenge. It takes work and thought to just breathe – something I need to do to keep me alive. Living with clinical depression means living on a fluid, relatively unpredictable spectrum of emotions.
All of this being said, I have learned how to manage depression much more effectively than I had in the past. I know how to stop and take a deep breath, and I am not afraid to admit that somebody needed to tell me that. I don’t think you ever “recover” from depression. You can recover from situational depression, the situation gets better, or it gets less painful with time. However, people with clinical depression have a different biological makeup in several areas of the brain than those who are not clinically depressed. That’s a topic to get into another day. But, I am coming to terms with the fact that, although I take medicine to help facilitate a bit more of a balance in the off chemicals in my brain, there are things medicine cannot do. There are aspects of the illness that I have to control cognitively, and there are certain brain patterns that cannot be altered. I have come to accept that I am going to be living with this beast for the rest of my life. I have days where I think the world is a cruel and unfair place to me – that I shouldn’t have to carry this burden for the rest of my life. But, I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason.
I have been handed this difficult illness at such a young age and with such severity because I am going to live my life fighting for better things for myself. This is what is going to make me somewhat qualified to lift others. I am well acquainted with pain, and I know what it’s like to be down. I hope that through my writing and interaction with my readers, I can help warm the heart of someone who is struggling and feeling cold. Some people are dealt much rougher cards than mine, though; much much much rougher. I used to get SO mad when people would tell me, “so many people have it so much worse than you.” I would think, “okay, but I don’t care right now because I am upset about my issue.” But, as I have gotten older and my eyes have been opened to many more realities of the world, I have realized that it is necessary to put things into perspective.
I spent a lot of time in the early months of 2017 crying about my confusion in terms of switching college majors. A lot of tears were shed and obsessive hours were spent analyzing all possible scenarios that could occur if I made a certain decision. While, yes, it is unsettling to not be secure in the field of study that you have chosen, it is imperative to realize that this is a relatively insignificant problem. It is something that can be relatively simply resolved, and nobody is going to die or get hurt because of whatever the verdict of this decision is. A rougher card is having a terminally ill parent and not being able to physically be with them because you have moved to a different place. A rougher card is having to deal with the loss of a friend who was walking somewhere at the wrong time and was shot at by a cop, simply for being Black and in a “dangerous” neighborhood. A rougher card is not having a support system of any sort. There are too many issues in the world that are much more life-threatening than a lot of the things I spend so much time obsessing over. Imagining the emotional burden that these rougher cards would have on me, I begin to sympathize with people who actually are dealt these cards. I also begin to realize how terribly selfish I have been for many years of my life.
This is how I’ve decided to look at my situation. I am mentally ill; it sucks a lot. I hate it. I hate it when people tell me that the biggest problem in my life is not a problem at all. However, I am privileged enough to have one heck of a support system in my family, friends, teachers, and advisors at school. I am privileged enough to be able to seek whatever medical treatment I need. A little bit of my problem can be solved by taking a tiny yellow pill every morning. I have managed to grow into habits and patterns that cause me to have MANY more good days than bad. I am one of those people who has their mental illness under control to the point where I can live a relatively full life and do all of the things that I want to do. I am lucky because not many people can say that.
Much more of my family and friends than not are physically healthy. The vast majority of my loved ones live in safe neighborhoods, and attend wonderful schools, or have great careers. I have many people, blood related to me and not, who wrap me in love and support on both the good days and the bad. I have found an outlet for my emotions that makes me feel like I am doing something good with my life (#IIB is life). I have always had a house to sleep in, whether it’s hot or freezing outside. There are so many privileges in my life that people would kill for. The simplest things like a glass of clean water, a bed, a hug from a family member, things that so many people wish on stars for. I have way more good things in my life than bad. I don’t get to sit here and say that I have some horribly terrible life that is so unbearably difficult. Because I have felt that way a lot before, that life dealt me a rough hand. But out of my many, many cards, only a minority are negative. I’m allowed to think that those cards are garbage, but I can’t say that I have a bad hand just because of those.
I empathize with others who suffer from mental illness. I know that many people have it worse than me, while many people have it much easier than me. The point is that everything needs to be put into perspective, and part of becoming an adult is giving yourself reality checks. I hate having depression. I hate having PCOS. I hate being lactose-intolerant. I hate living thousands of miles away from the majority of my family. But, I love so many other things about my life. I love having parents who would spin the world the other way for me. I love having a cousin who decided to step into my life as a big sister, and I love that 19 years into my life she’s still fully there for me. I love having the sweetest, smiliest, funniest, cutest niece in the entire world. I love living a house that is full of photos and good food. I love going to the college of my dreams. I love being able to travel often. I love being able to run the blog of my dreams, and make my tiny voice heard in this big world. I love being able to take care of myself in any way that I would like. I love so many of the cards that I have been dealt. It is unjust for me to sit here and use those few bad cards as a reason to state that I live a torturously difficult life. I have difficult moments, but it could always be worse.
I’m not a fan of this show, but this scene is applicable as heck right here. To quote Kourtney in “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” when Kim lost her crazy expensive diamond earring in the ocean and cried like the world had stopped turning, “there’s people that are dying.” Gently remind yourself of that when you throw yourself a pity party. I know I’ll be continuing working on this every day. I hope you do too.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Image courtesy of Pairade


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