Life, Mental Health

CALLING IN SICK WITH DEPRESSION

Sometimes it’s really, really unfair to have depression. Like, duh—obviously, but bear with me.

Sometimes it’s really unfair that I can’t just call out of a meeting “sick with depression.” It makes me really, really mad. And I’m using “really” a lot because…because that’s the only way I can describe it. It sucks. It’s annoying. And it doesn’t stop sucking.

It’s hard explaining it to people; it’s hard saying to someone, “I have depression and it’s bad right now but it’s not like ‘bad bad’ so stop looking at me like I’m a puppy.” With other things, you can explain them in a few words.

“I have a stomachache.” “I have the flu.” “I’m hungover.”

But I can’t just say something like that and have it explained away easily. Most people don’t process things like that—they don’t have the experience to understand. Everyone’s had a cold; everyone’s had a stomachache. But not everyone’s had depression. So you can’t just explain it away.

“Sorry, I would totally come to the meeting but I keep getting sad at unrelated things and then I want to smash a window.”

“Sorry, I want to hang out but I’m going to burrow under a pile of blankets and not move for multiple hours.”

“Sorry, I can’t meet up today—I’m feeling tumultuous.”

I have good days and I have bad days. Being on medication means that my bad days are fewer now—they almost become like bad dreams. Half-remembered and explained away. And I don’t realize a bad day until I’m knee-deep in it. And it’s not that I want sympathy or a pass or anything like that. I just wish we had the vocabulary for us to express ourselves. I wish I could make it clear without couching it as a blanket “mental health day” or lie and say that I’m sick with something else.

I’ve got a touch of depression. Sorry, can’t come to your meeting.

I can still function; I’m not incapacitated. But I’m weak; and I’m sad. It’s not forever, but it’s now. This now sucks completely. This now is me wanting to kind of cry and watch covers of songs from Hamilton and just not have to worry about work or school or romance or jobs. But I can’t say that.

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