I’ve been thinking a lot today about how costly my depression is, and I’m not just talking about prescriptions and medical bills.
I’m talking about the cost in family and social relationships. And the cost in career and professional opportunities. In my case, the costs have been huge. It’s the end of summer, and I can’t help but think that most of my friends got invited by other friends for vacations, long weekends, etc. I didn’t get any such invitations. I don’t want to be all woe is me, but I can’t help but think that my depression is a big reason why. Several months ago, I did spend a weekend in Hartford with one of my best friends. We had a lot of fun, but then on the way back he says to me, “I’m so glad that you seemed to be more ‘up’ this weekend. I was worried that you wouldn’t be, and how I would handle it.” When one of my best friends has an issue with the idea of spending just three days with me, that says something.
I’m always hearing about how those of us with depression need to make extra efforts to avoid distancing ourselves from other people, but what about the people who distance themselves from us? Is that supposed to be okay? In a way, I get it–especially when I’m in a deep funk, I’m not exactly Mr. Excitement as far as company is concerned. And honestly, there are very few people who know how to handle that.
But it’s not as though I’m blameless, either. Even my family has often described me as aloof. And I don’t deny that. Then there’s another issue–my depression has seriously impeded my ability to work and make a living. That means I have borrowed money from family and friends, and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to pay it back. This causes me a lot of shame, which of course makes me want to avoid the very people who were kind enough to help me out. I wonder if, to them, I’m not only aloof, but also some kind of money-sucking burden as well.
I know I should not avoid them. But damn if I know what to say to them. I hope things will get better for me financially, but that depends on me getting better mentally. I’m not catatonic was I was a few months ago, but I’m hardly cranking on all cylinders.
In the end, all I can do is try as best as I can, every day. I wish that even my family and friends could understand that a little more than they do. But I also wish that I could undo the mistakes I’ve made. I know I can’t do that, but this much, I do know: my depression has already cost me deeply. I want to get better, but I’m damn tired of paying this heavy price for what goes on in my head.