PEOPLE LIKE ME

photo credit: hasty words

There are some things we just have to experience to understand.

I couldn’t stand listening to them whine. My classmates, my co-workers, my friends and my family coming to me and sucking my positive energy dry. Those with so called “depression” were always so negative and I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand. I am ashamed of myself for not understanding.

I didn’t understand that depression wasn’t a mood or a frame of mind. I didn’t understand that my loved ones weren’t wallowing in self-pity. I was angry every time one of them attempted suicide or succeeded in killing themselves. I was angry at how selfish they had to have been to think only of themselves, to “take the easy way out”. I am ashamed of myself for not understanding.

I remember lying in bed one night with thoughts flying through my head faster than I could grab them. One night turned into eight months and before I knew it I was an emotionally charged time bomb. Anxiety for my family, friends, job, money, and marriage kept me awake at night. I wrote it all off as normal everyday stress. I am strong, I can handle it.

I wasn’t going to be one of the whiny sad people so I smiled through everything. Until, I started breaking. At first, I got paranoid. I started accusing my friends of treating me differently. I started accusing them of lying to me and not caring about me. What the hell was happening to me?

I internalized everything but I was still pretty good at ignoring the self-deprecating voices. I became obsessive about music, listening to headphones every time I heard the thoughts getting restless. My best friend would tell me to stop wearing them when I drove but I didn’t listen because I needed the music piped into my ears or else I couldn’t ignore the voices. If my husband or my friend got upset the headphones went in and I isolated myself in the music.

I WAS NOT GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. Eventually, I got frustrated and with the frustration came anger. Constant battles and constant fights that always ended in regret and shame. Then the voices became too loud to ignore. The voices were right. I was worthless, I was whiny, I was a mess, and eventually I couldn’t hear the real voices of those around me. I was depressed.

I had already been writing for quite some time trying to make sense of things. Many of my poems are dark but they helped me in ways I didn’t understand until later. Writing didn’t cure my depression but writing helped me understand it better. One night I hit bottom and I survived the voices in my head (with help from a friend) long enough to get help.

TRYING NOT TO BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE was going to end up killing me.

Writing helped me in my counseling sessions and became part of my therapy. I began sorting through those thoughts I used to try to ignore. I discovered I harbored resentment, distrust, and shame because of the rape I had buried two decades before. I learned what kind of cycle my depression went through and what kinds of things triggered me.
When I start to feel, whether because of something I go through or because of something another person goes through, I sit down and listen to my thoughts. Instead of waiting for them to scream I am dragging them out of their little hidey holes before they get too comfortable. This is why I write poetry.

There is something about having a conversation with your thoughts and trying to summarize them with exactly the right set of words that is therapeutic. If I am especially upset I will focus on the rhyme and scheme of a poem. The longer it takes to write the more exhausted I am of the subject. If you are irrational it takes a good 20 minutes to start thinking rationally again. I can see this as I write.

I still get anxious and upset, I still get depressed, but writing poetry makes it more manageable. I don’t cry every day and sometimes I go months without breaking down. I made poetic duets a major part of my blog because I want others to experience the power of poetry. It isn’t about writing perfectly it is about listening and letting emotions (the tears and the laughter) have their say.

Now, I don’t see whiny people; I see hurting people. I see people brave enough to reach out. It is hard to ask for help. It is hard because we convince ourselves that it is selfish to hurt when you know others are hurting more. I have learned that mental pain can hurt just as much as physical pain and all pain is relevant. Now I listen and encourage PEOPLE LIKE ME to seek professional help because ignoring depression is dangerous.

I continue to write because I want people to understand the cure for depression isn’t as simple as mind over matter. I want those who suffer with depression to know they are not alone and that writing can teach us, connect us, and ground us. I let the voices out long enough to have their say and then I confront them by writing.

 ~ Hastywords May of 2014.

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63 thoughts on “PEOPLE LIKE ME

  1. OMFG this was like reading my life story!

    I used to be Mr. Optimism among my family and friends. People used to come to me for all the good-vibes and well wishings in life. It wasn’t until after my parents’ divorce, the suicide of my little brother, spending years as a cop, and having a troubled relationships that the stress began to set in and my own refusal to “be depressed” was eroded away…

    Liked by 1 person

    • i see you as laughter and love, dancing within a harmony, balancing a loving family within your own creativity….

      Since you have encountered me, i have read and learned a great deal about depression…. There was a time i knew nothing about this disease, however that has changed….

      i can truthfully say i have never felt the disease of depression with this fact i must have been blessed in some strange way…

      Please continue to reach out, you have helped more than only those with depression! If i were to dare say, my drug use has slowed a great deal because of the time i spend at writing poetry….

      Like

  2. You describe the descent so perfectly, In trying to bring comfort to others you say they are not alone. I hope you continue to remember that neither are you. Instead of People Like Me, you should call it People Like Us.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Like

  3. This is stellar. And I’m sorry you’ve struggled so hard with this, but in using poetry as a creative outlet for those awful thoughts, I guarantee you’ve helped others in putting words to their own feelings. It’s tough, when there isn’t the language, and somehow your poems have the ability to pin the smoke to the wall for long enough that it can be seen and understood more clearly.

    I can’t tell you how important that is.

    Bravo.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Exactly. I started really writing poetry in Junior High. My counselor had suggested it, I still remember the first counseling session in which I read my first real poems out loud. It’s amazing how freeing, validating, and comforting writing can be… It’s helped me to acknowledge and work through emotions I didn’t even know I had or was capable of.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Dionysus Amber and commented:
    Very True @Hastywords. I too didn’t understand or sympahtise with those suffering with depression. Until I had it myself. Even growing up with a Mother and Grandma whom suffered with it,I still didn’t understand. Thanks for writing this. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a powerful, well written and needed blog. What hell people who fight chronic depression must experience is beyond my imagination. My heart truly goes out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I sat so very still while I read this. I relate to a lot of this, the feelings. Your poetry is outstanding and I am so glad that you have found it to be a therapy. I don’t write poetry but I know that writing has helped me so much in sorting out thoughts and feelings. Much of what I write never sees the light of day but that’s okay. It’s out of my head and heart. That is what really matters. I read your posts and am almost always at a loss for words. There is always so much intense and startling emotion in everything you write. You have an incredible talent and I hope it always, always helps you fight your demons. I like having you around.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on The Asylum and commented:
    This is very like my own story, although I have bipolar disorder (type 2) rather than unipolar depression. Because I have type 2, I don’t get full-on symptoms of mania, I experience hypomania, which can be harder to detect. I was misdiagnosed with everything from unipolar depression plus anxiety to adult ADD. The medications the doctors tried to put me on only messed me up more. SSRI’s, for instance, make me not only manic but psychotic, when I’m usually neither.
    I now understand my bipolar disorder, and understanding it helps me live with it. It can never be cured, but I’m not sure I’d want it to be. That may sound strange, given that it’s been such a source of trouble in my life, but I really don’t know how I’d function without it.
    I’d cure my diabetes, hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia in a heart beat if I could. But somehow the bipolar is part of who I am, crazy as that sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In truth all of these things make up who we are… Understanding that is the first step to making sure we do what we need to do to be functional. By being honest then those around us know what to expect and can deal more easily with those things that are usually harder to deal with. 🙂

      Like

  9. Reblogged this on Dodgysurfer's Blog and commented:
    Re-posting this for several reasons.
    The post itself expresses so much that I can relate to but could not express so explicitly or powerfully.
    Even the title raises many thoughts. ‘People like me’. Is it a plea? A statement? An expression?
    And the subject matter talks about how difficult it can be to really understand what one person is going through unless we have experienced something similar.
    Or unless we read blogs like hers maybe.
    This blogger writes so effectively. Sometimes cutting through the murk so effectively she has me wiping my eyes, sometimes dark and deep and mysterious, sometimes bizarre and confusing, but isn’t that just how our own thoughts are?
    The posts are never boring and always thought provoking, the photos are usually incredibly artistic and well crafted.
    Anyway, please take a look if you don’t mind peeking under the covers once in a while, lifting the bonnet/hood to peer at the oily machinations that propel this vehicle and many others through the obstacle course of life…

    Liked by 1 person

      • None of us should really try to be something we’re not. And i think we are all indebted to those who manage to say tbe things we think but for whatever reason cannot. It makes us feel like we aren’t alone with those thoughts, which makes a big difference because it makes us feel more acceptable the way we are.
        Keep doing your thang! You do it so very well!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on Finding Twindaddy and commented:
    I don’t often reblog. It feels dirty to repost someone else’s work on my own blog without their permission. Luckily, the way it works on WordPress is that only a 100 or so of the other’s words show on your blog, followed by a link to the original post.

    I’m reblogging this post because it so accurately captures what writing means to me. I didn’t start blogging as an emotional outlet used to vanquish my demons, but that’s how it’s ended up.

    I relate to so much of this. Much of the reason I neglected to treat me depression for so long was because I felt weak, and thought I should be strong enough to deal with it on my own. I, like many other people, thought it was simply a mind-over-matter thing. Guess what? It’s not.

    As much as some people would like to think you can “fake it ’til you make it,” that’s simply not how it works. No matter how much you may try to cover up your depression it never goes away. Faking happiness doesn’t alter the chemical imbalance in your brain. You can hide it among the skeletons in your closet, but it’s still there looming over you like a rain cloud on a sunny day, poised to let loose on you at a most inconvenient time.

    I, like Hasty, have found value and therapy in writing. Writing my feelings out is like an exorcism for my negative emotions. Like there’s a hole in the bottom of the baggage holding all of my angst and feelings of worthlessness. The more I write the more negative emotions seep through that hole and dissipates into the emotional ether. Or wherever stupid feelings go to die.

    I highly encourage anyone who is struggling emotionally to write, whether or not you think you have a talent for it. What a poem. Write a story. Write a journal. Do it publicly. Do it privately. It doesn’t matter. Just do it.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. “I have learned that mental pain can hurt just as much as physical pain and all pain is relevant.”
    Well said. And, I think, an important lesson to learn in order to connect in an increasingly individualized world.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The effect of writing is very interesting. However much I think about something, I can still get sudden insight when I write about it. It often helps me sort it out, get a grip on it, understand it better. And I can get it out of my head, so it doesn’t keep running around there.
    Isn’t that strange? How much this can affect us? (In a good way though.)

    Very interesting post, glad I read it via Twindaddy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I came to this post because it was reblogged by Lisa on Underground Energy–and I see that it’s been reblogged elsewhere, therefore I’m going to reblog –assuming you don’t mind that I do so since others have done so, because I think this is very important and it bears repeating. .
    Thanks Hasty Words.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on 47whitebuffalo's Blog and commented:
    While visiting Lisa’s blogcasa at Underground Energy I found that she’d reblogged this great post by hastywords about depression and writing. It’s well worth your time to surf through to read the entire post–and to share it with anyone you think might be in need of the kindness of doing so. Take care of yourself and others. Namaste

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. Thank you for being such a strong voice for this, Hasty. There are too many of us out there suffering. You are helping erase the awful stigma attached.
    I think we may even live to see a time where the stigma disappears all together. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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