Author: JW Holland
Throughout my life, especially before I started getting treatment, I have had periods where depression and anxiety have almost completely shut me down. I still managed to look alive and well, but inside was nothing but horror. The kind of fear that only allows you to see destruction and everything that ends badly in life.
Not a great feeling at all, but its effect on those around me was just as hard for me to bear.
My wild mood swings strain even the best relationships. It was usually written off as a mood or just a general bad mood, but it was much more.
Those of you who have struggled with this terrible affliction will understand. The problem, however, is that those who are not cursed with this disease sometimes find it difficult to accept that it is beyond the control of the afflicted person.
What seems trivial to you is blown out of proportion to us and the reactions seem so exaggerated and contradictory.
At my worst, I was a horrible person who couldn’t be reasoned with or comforted. I would throw away whatever common decency I had and unleash my weight on whoever happened to be there. If you made the slightest mistake or said the wrong thing at the wrong time, you saw another side of me, one that I’m not proud of.
Those times were difficult for everyone, especially me. In my mind, even as they were happening, I was yelling at myself to stop, stop! But I couldn’t, I didn’t know how, and sometimes I wonder if I even want to.
I said a lot of things at the time, most of which I regret, but the problem was all the things I couldn’t say. Things that simply wouldn’t or couldn’t come out of my mouth.
My brain won’t allow it; my emotions kept them in place my depression locked them in a place I couldn’t access. Many of us, especially men, find it difficult to fully express our emotions, feelings and thoughts. When you mix depression and anxiety, they become almost impossible.
In those moments, there were things I simply couldn’t say no matter how hard I tried. Many men have the same struggle and it is important to recognize when this is the case.
Here are 4 heartbreaking things people struggling with depression won’t tell you:
1. We can’t tell what’s wrong
When someone is in a bad mood or seems upset about something, many people, especially wives, want to try to fix it. The only way they say they can help is if we tell them what’s wrong. The problem is we don’t know, we have no idea what the hell is wrong.
We know deep down that whatever the trigger was, it probably wasn’t the real problem. We want to be able to say what’s wrong; we want to calm down and get over it, but we just can’t.
2. We can’t say we were sorry
In the heat of the moment, in the middle of an episode of depression or anxiety, we probably say hurtful things. We may have even made you cry, and we’re sorry we can’t express it. At least for me, it was a defense mechanism to somehow prove to myself that I was right about whatever irrational thought was going through my head.
An apology usually comes later, and even then it’s difficult and usually comes in some other form. The problem is, it’s usually too late and the damage is done.
3. We can’t say we need space
However, I never could, even though I knew I was in a bad place mentally, I could never express my need for time alone.
This was actually when the most offensive thing I could say came out. I didn’t mean anything, it was that I needed to be left alone, I needed space and I needed time to collect myself, I just couldn’t say it. I know it sounds ridiculous and a little childish, but it’s true, the more I was pressured, the nastier I could get until I had pushed someone away.
4. We can’t say we need help
This is all too true for many men with mental health issues. We still live in a society that treats those who admit there may be a problem differently. Our culture is changing, but it is changing too slowly. We are taught from a young age not to show weakness, and this only compounds the difficulty of seeking treatment. When we finally admit to ourselves that something is wrong, we still can’t express it to anyone else.
It took a very long time, too long, before I could admit to anyone and seek treatment. The time I wasted cost me great experiences and opportunities. The street is always there.
I’m certainly not an expert on mental health, and I don’t claim to know all the answers. I know how this terrible disease has disrupted my life and the lives of my family. It’s not something I’m proud of, and the hurt I caused may never be fully forgiven. All I can do is take care of myself and work to improve every day.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text “HELLO” to 741741 to reach the crisis text line.
JW Holland is a blogger and former political editor at The Good Men Project. He has appeared in Babble, Fatherly and other series.
#Heartbreaking #People #Battling #Depression #Wont
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