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After YEARS of explanation, a lifetime of friendship, and knowing everything I am going thru lately, my cousin, my best friend STILL doesn't get it.

Depression is NOT fucking "woe is me". It feels so...belittling.

I decided, against my better judgement lol, to participate in an artist event and I want to focus on Mental Health. Maybe paint my depression. I even bought some books on Creativity and Mental Illness, the artist and the crazy. I felt...inspired! First time in I don't know how long. But I called my cousin to check. This was an event I swore never to do again. I told her I googled paintings on depression and most of them are pictures of women with their heads hanging low. I want to do something different, maybe paint depression in the abstract, how it 'feels'.

Cuz proceeded to talk about HER depression painting in college. This is someone who NEVER gets depressed. Who has TONS of get up and go. But she persists in believing that her sadness, her off days, her anxiety which I think is just nerves, is depression, is the SAME as mine except not so long lasting. In other words, if I WANTED TO I could make it all go away. She KNOWS somewhere deep inside I think this is wrong headed thinking but I wonder, what is preventing her from getting this is a DISEASE! A result of built in fuckupedness and my emotionally abusive family. Her mother, my aunt, helped me survive but cuz REFUSES to get how awful MY house was, and how awful my life can be. 

So she called depression "woe is me" and when I said that I don't think that's what it is, she said, "well everyone is different".

Sometimes I wonder if her refusal to get it is because she refuses to acknowledge that something IS WRONG WITH ME. There are so few people I know who do not suffer from depression and actually understand how hellish it can be. Even therapists!  Only my ex-husband, of all the people I know, has a glimmering of understanding. And maybe that was because I put him thru depression 101 for 30 years.

Do you know anyone to gets it without experiencing it? How did you get them to understand? Is it even possible?

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@water wow, I identify with this soooooo much... I have 1 person that really "gets it" (one of my parents) No one else...not even past bf's or spouse. The times I've reached out for help, or just a kind ear, I get the same sh*t, people just trivialize it...makes me feel more ashamed. On one hand, I understand if they've never experienced it, they can't really identify, but to have so little empathy or concern to even listen, TRY to comprehend that we're talking about a DISEASE...well, I don't know what to say.

So I don't say anything anymore. If I hit a drowning point or ever feel suicidal, I'll just save it for my pdoc and therapist. People won't "get it" if they don't want to I guess.

Edited by Blahblah
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2 hours ago, Blahblah said:

People won't "get it" if they don't want to I guess.

Yep! I think that's it. They won't get it if they don't want to. No matter how many years, how many stories, how many episodes, it's like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

I guess that is a good solution, though one that's hard for me to accept, just not tell her. :-{

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I think people who have been sad or had mild depression may think it’s like that for everyone with depression. At least that’s how it looks with some of the people I know. I suppose It is hard to comprehend how bad and unrelenting depression can be if you haven’t been there, but don’t belittle what you don’t understand. Another reason I keep my MI secret, unhealthy as that may be. 

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I think people who haven't experienced it really can't get it. Years ago I worked for a guy who pushed me into some really stressful situations at work, and my depression and anxiety were exacerbated. When I told him about it he said to me one day "You do really well, I think really you bring it all on yourself". I think he meant that because he thought I was doing a good job on the outside (which is great, he did encourage me a lot that way), then I was bringing in depression and anxiety with my thinking. I remember feeling so downhearted. He really just had no idea, and couldn't fathom the way I thought about myself.

But. Even though I believe people who haven't experienced it can't really get it.... I think there are people who do their best to try to understand. The minister at my church is a very caring man and because he knows about my mental health struggles, he comes and visits me sometimes to check in and ask questions. He said straight up to me "I cannot relate to your experience, but I want to empathise and try to understand". And he makes an effort with me. If we bump into each other in the street he looks me straight in the eyes and asks "how are you?". Not in that way that people ask just as a greeting. He wants to know. And I appreciate that. I wish more people would be like that.

I am so sorry about your friend-cousin. This will seem like a rude question but WHY is she your best friend? I feel like you deserve a better friend who cares more about your experience rather than trivialising it.

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21 hours ago, Melancholya said:

But. Even though I believe people who haven't experienced it can't really get it.... I think there are people who do their best to try to understand. The minister at my church is a very caring man and because he knows about my mental health struggles, he comes and visits me sometimes to check in and ask questions. He said straight up to me "I cannot relate to your experience, but I want to empathise and try to understand". And he makes an effort with me. If we bump into each other in the street he looks me straight in the eyes and asks "how are you?". Not in that way that people ask just as a greeting. He wants to know. And I appreciate that. I wish more people would be like that.

I am so sorry about your friend-cousin. This will seem like a rude question but WHY is she your best friend? I feel like you deserve a better friend who cares more about your experience rather than trivialising it.

What a wonderful man, how rare. 

REALLY good question about my cousin. Hard to answer. I have only a few close friends. It takes years to develop these close friendships and I would be reluctant to let go of one that is so long lasting BUT....having said that...I have been thinking lately of how this particular friendship can be toxic. It is constant, her lack of understanding. She also makes fun of me, answers the phone sometimes saying, "Ohhhhhhhh, water!" and I immediately say "what;'s wrong!" and then she says, "I was just copying you.". bleh. I have a bad habit of taking everything on myself and I tend to make it my fault these issues so I am always trying to understand, to get over, to deal. But, I do wonder.....her life is blessed. She has loads of money. An amazing house, loving husband, incredible kids, and lots of great work to do. It is a continual trigger for me. She has no idea.  She has been very supportive of me but lately, ever since my marriage ended, when she calls to "check up" on me, it's weird. I feel judged. And I don't always feel like I can be honest about how I am doing. That is not good, not good at all.

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22 minutes ago, water said:

She also makes fun of me, answers the phone sometimes saying, "Ohhhhhhhh, water!" and I immediately say "what;'s wrong!" and then she says, "I was just copying you.".

Omg. Tell her to shove it up her ass. I'd love to hear her response to that! 

I understand how hard it is to make new friendships. I wonder if you could find a way to meet some more caring people. Do you have other friends? Honestly that made me so mad to hear she mocks you. 

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I don’t think one has to have experienced it to necessarily believe that’s you’re suffering, but to really understand it I think you at least had to have someone close to you go through it.

My mom and my husband do a pretty good job... they clearly understand I’m in a lot of pain, but truly understanding how it works is always evolving. My mom has trouble “getting” that I tend to withdraw completely when I’m really bad, but she often thinks it’s just her, or she thinks when I’m really bad that I should somehow be MORE open and communicative. She doesn’t get that I don’t want to talk about it.

That can be a pain, but it’s my boss that I can’t stand. She flat out doesn’t believe in mental illness. I started crying at work one day and she was ostensibly sympathetic, but her response was, “I used to get sad about things too, but I didn’t like it so I just don’t think about those things anymore.” Just laugh instead, she said. Now that IS funny.  The next time I broke down at work (it’s only happened twice as I mask fairly well) she basically laughed at me for being a crybaby.

 

When I told my pdoc, he said “She’s unpredictable. You know how they make lab rats depressed for studies? You take away predictability.” He pretty much told me to run, not walk away. 

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21 hours ago, Melancholya said:

Honestly that made me so mad to hear she mocks you.

yeah. honestly, it was embarrassing to even write about it. Unfortunately, due to, I think, my emotionally abusive dad, I tend to get apologetic instead of mad when people do stuff like that, as if it's MY fault. That somehow, it's MY responsibility for making her make fun of me. Which is ridiculous.  I am nurturing some new friends. And also, instead of automatically calling her, reaching out to other people. Today I am in a tizzy about what to do about this new therapist, and I definitely know NOT to call her. Instead, I think I'll make a topic. :-}

 

20 hours ago, climber47 said:

but she often thinks it’s just her, or she thinks when I’m really bad that I should somehow be MORE open and communicative. She doesn’t get that I don’t want to talk about it.

This is what happened with my ex husband. He thought it had to do with him, and that I needed to share more, etc. etc. So, I came up with a sentence for him to say. After spending lots of time explaining to him that I did in fact want NO ONE around. And it worked. He would say, "I love you and everything will be alright" and then leave the room. Leave me alone. Previously he would try and 'fix' me, which backfired everytime. But I needed his reassurance that he still loved me DESPITE me being depressed. The 'everything will be ok' line was...not always welcome, lol, but it just became part of the i love you mantra. 

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50 minutes ago, water said:

Unfortunately, due to, I think, my emotionally abusive dad, I tend to get apologetic instead of mad when people do stuff like that, as if it's MY fault. That somehow, it's MY responsibility for making her make fun of me.

I know what you mean. I am like this too. If someone mocks me usually I'm so unprepared for it I don't know how to react and I just get apologetic or embarrassed. Instead of sticking up for myself!

51 minutes ago, water said:

I am nurturing some new friends. And also, instead of automatically calling her, reaching out to other people.

I am so glad to hear this :) 

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My circle has a lot of people with personal experience with mental health, so I'm often talking to others who really get it, but my family has some people who have never experienced mental illness.

There's definitely a difference in how well they understand what I am saying, but they can understand enough. They can show that they care and they can listen to what I am saying. They sometimes say things that are a bit off, but when I ask them to approach the topic differently they try to do that.

I think that this should be the expectation for any topic where one person has personal experience and the other doesn't.

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