Depression is a cyclic experience. Larger cycles through your life as it hits you hard over the years. Large cycles as it looms in your face but you dodge it somehow. Small cycles of bad and good days or weeks. Even smaller cycles as it torments you with a few hours of one of its favourite tortures.
Each cycle is made up of depression effects, then something of a vulnerable recovery. This is a shaky process that hopefully leads to a bewildered feeling of unexpected wellbeing…until the next cycle of what ever size and effect.
Observers of your illness will say things like “but you were so well yesterday!??!”. When you know they are being sympathetic you know that they feel for you. Sometimes though you sense that they are being questioning, displaying frustration, and often being dismissive and unbelieving. If you are fighting depression you have to be positive. You get fed up of describing your symptoms when asked “How are you feeling today?”. You want people to know that you are being positive. You want to be positive in the face of the pain. You want to be a fighter. You don’t want it to rule your life, again.
Sometimes people forget your bad times as related to them. They too want positivity. They too want you to be well, for their own reasons. They want to squeeze you towards wellness. However when depression is cycling large it also cycles slow. You can try to be positive, put on a positive show, aspire to wellness, but you are not in charge.
Often you will be told “But it’s normal to feel like that!” Oh! well no it’s not actually! Not with the sum of other symptoms driving you down, not with it being with you for days, weeks, or months. People dismissing your depression like that is appalling. You never want contact with them again, you excuse their comments as ignorant clumsiness, but you dismiss the relationship as unhelpful. You disregard them.
When people indicate frustration at your slow, or non apparent recovery, and the ups and downs of your “mood”, it can put you in a position of feeling disbelieved. It trivialises the pain you feel, the real world of depression is thus stigmatised as some kind of self induced state of morose thoughts that you can pull out of.
When others “deny” depression it adds stigma to the cycle. Family and friends can do it. Employers certainly do it. In fact most depressives probably did it before they learned better.
So don’t stigmatise depression it’s just not helpful. Shame on you if you do. The odds of you learning this the hard way are high, and one day you will need it to be understood. You will understand.