Grey skies are going to clear up. Put on a happy face. Sung by the one and only Tony Bennett.
No offense, Mr. Bennett, but “Grey skies aren’t going to clear up” and some days, putting on a “happy face” is virtually impossible! The battle of the Great Depression in my head can’t be fixed by putting on a “happy face.” It doesn’t work like that. Saying “Are you over it yet?” will get you the all popular evil eye. Mental illness isn’t something to “get over” that quickly.
You don’t “get over” consistent sadness overnight. I wish! But who has a magic wand in their pockets to make that happen? Not me. Saying “I’m fine” is just a cover that we use a defense mechanism. When someone asks me this on a daily basis, they don’t know the struggle inside of my head. So don’t ask if I’m OK. People will look at us in the face, but they don’t see our eyes. The eyes are the window into our souls. Our eyes show the pain, the horror, the suffering, and the never-ending rain. Non-sufferers don’t see this at all. They see the other side. They don’t see our side of the story.
Take a good look at one’s mind and see what the weather forecast is when living with depression. Dark ominous clouds with violent thunderstorms and rain are an everyday occurrence for us mental health sufferers. Sure, the sun peeks through momentarily, but then it gets taken over by those dark clouds. Frightening isn’t it. The meteorologist’s daily forecast would never change. Today’s forecast includes: “Heavy rains with a real chance of flash flooding. Severe thunderstorm warnings in effective until further notice even tornado warnings have been issued as well. If you’re planning on heading out then get out your raincoat, your galoshes and your boat; if not then don’t bother going outside.”
Now do you get it? This is a storm that’s lifelong. Sometimes, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like you’re walking down a long corridor and there’s no exit. If you want to park your car, there’s no spaces available. It’s like falling and there’s nothing nor anyone there to catch you.
Putting on a happy face or getting the sun to shine through stormy weather is no easy task. Usually a rainbow occurs after a rainstorm, but in this case it doesn’t appear at all sometimes. You can’t tell me that it’s “all in your head.” That’s another thing that will get you in trouble with us sufferers. We know that mental illness is something in our heads, but it’s not something that we created nor wanted to happen to us. I can’t help it if I have a chemical imbalance or a disorder causes changes in my behavior, my mood and my thoughts. No one can help it. All you can do is respect us and cut us some slack. Not everyone is always “sunny with temperatures in the mid-70’s” everyday. We all have good days and bad days. We all suffer, we all struggle, we are under pressure from work or school or dealing with children. Whatever it is, life is hard. At some point, we experience some sort of mental illness. Don’t be naïve. Anything is possible in this world.
Depression will always be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life. I can’t erase that. I just ride out the storm everyday and think positive. Yes, things could be worse and I’ve dealt with worse many times. It really comes down to you: How you manage your mental health on a daily basis!
You can let it destroy you or you can destroy it yourself. I get out my boxing gloves and tackle each day and each moment. When a dark cloud gets darker than before, I fight. I fight the good fight. It’s like give up or die trying. I’d rather fight until it’s over.