I made the mistake of reading comments on a cartoon about "if people treated regular illness like they treat mental illness."
Oh boy. People really believe that "You should just change your outlook" is a valid option for people suffering from depression.
Let me say this:
CHOOSING HOW I FEEL IS **NOT** AN OPTION
When I turned 40 and my brain chemistry altered so I am now Bi-Polar Depressive, I lost the option to choose the emotions that roll over me. I know the difference. I remember being able to say, "I don't want to be sad, I'm going to do something happy and think positive." And it fixed it.
That is no longer how my brain works.
When the dark oppressive weight of depression sits on me, I CANNOT say, "I'll just think positive and it will go away." That is not how it works.
Because I can look for and be grateful for all the things going right in my life. It still doesn't affect how I FEEL. In fact, when the depression is really bad, I can't feel anything but heavy and exhausted.
I DO have the choice to tell someone that it's a bad day.
I DO have the choice to go for a walk with my husband if he wants to get me out of the house.
I DO have the choice to use coping skills to try to relieve as much of the weight as possible. Or interrupting that negative tape that plays over and over and over. That tape that says I'm not good enough, why bother, my family would be better off without me.
Believe it or not, it's true. I am so tired of people who have never had real, true, clinical depression telling me to just think positive.
I firmly and will always believe that God sent me here to let me experience agency. I get to choose lots of things in my life. But now the choice of anger, grumpy, happy, sad, overwhelmed, discouraged, numb - my emotions are no longer in my control. I never know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next. All I can do is be prepared for any outcome, have coping methods in place, and trust that I will make it through the day.
I know I am blessed. I have good friends, good family, an awesome support system, and a nice safe bedroom where I can hide when I need to. I have great doctors and therapists. I have a good balance between medications and alternative supplements. I am doing the best that I can do. That still doesn't change the fact that my emotions are out of my control.
I really, truly, am glad for those who don't know depression, who don't understand it, who have never experienced it. I don't wish it on anyone. What I do ask, though, is for them to TRY to understand and not to attempt to tell me how to fix it. Just be there. I know I'm hard to live with. I know it requires a lot of patience, a lot of hugs, and a lot of tolerance of my mood swings. I get that. But for the love of all that's holy, STOP telling me to change my outlook.
My outlook is this: I will survive. I will do what I have to in order to survive. I will fight this battle for as long as I live, and dammit, I will win. My kids need me. I am stubborn, I am persistent, and I am resourceful. I have a condition. I am learning how to live with it and still experience life in a good and productive way.
That is the best I can do.