Depression is a terrible word in our society, almost as bad as trying to talk about death. It happens mostly to others, unless it happens to be happening to you. In the trans community we’re fond of telling people they really can’t understand. I have news for you, that’s true for lots of divides. Men don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, nor do women fully appreciate the burdens men carry.
Most of all those afflicted with mental disorders are shuffled to the side and told helpful things like “snap out of it”, “cheer up” or “it’s not that bad”. Mental disorders seem to be fake because the sufferer isn’t standing there with an open wound leaking blood from a vein in her neck. Yet without help it will kill her just the same.
I’ve struggled with depression from time to time my entire life. I can see this more easily in hindsight than I ever could at the time. Some of the triggers were indeed from gender dysphoria, but others are anybody’s guess really. Unrealistic expectations, conflicts of all kinds, and the compromises that come along with real life and middle age.
Yet it was the bout four years ago that forced me to come out, the continued suffering that forced me to transition and the relief from depression that made me know I had done the right thing. Yet doing the right thing isn’t always sufficient. Even the right thing comes with pain and loss to balance the joy and accomplishment.
I think my least favorite time to be awake with depression is in the wee hours of the morning. I have fewer options available to me. I can post something on a message board but it could be a day to get an answer if I get an answer.
Last night I had some strange impulses. Nothing I followed up on mind you, but it isn’t the first time I’ve visited the neighborhood of self harm. They say that it’s a control thing when your life is out of control. There might be validity in that.
But those late night wakings to empty my bladder have recently come with a chorus of why me along for the ride. Why parkinson’s, why separation, why lost friendships, why, why, why. In my more rational moments I know why for much of it. Some things just followed from others, some were just a bad hand dealt at a bad time.
Where do I go from here? I keep writing for one. Creativity and meaning according to this paper I scared up are pretty important in getting past depression. I continue to find my opportunities to help others who are travelling my road as those before me helped me. I find things to have fun with and take joy in. I take care of my physical body by feeding it well, providing it the right amount of rest and exercise.
If you have depression, know you are not alone. You do not have to go through it alone. You almost certainly have people close to you who would help and there are always hotlines available if you are in crisis. This too shall pass.