I have depression, I am NOT depression

It seems that when you suffer from an illness, people seem to think that illness then defines you. All those years before you got the illness are forgotten, almost like the real you never existed. All that remains are recent memories of who and what you have become since. This was really bought to my attention recently during a (heated) discussion with Michael. I had spent the previous week being angry at him, trying to talk to him had led to nothing, so I did what any normal grown up would do in my situation. I sulked. I was snappy with him, and generally ‘off’ thinking this would get my message across, but alas my efforts were in vain – he just assumed it was the depression. Heaven forbid he consider that he had done anything wrong – he is only male afterall! After explaining this to him, he did apologise and realised he didn’t even think about it being anything else.

So is that who I am from now on? This year has seen a big improvement for me – I posted last year about how I wouldn’t let depression take over my life anymore (read it here) but it would seem that it isn’t just me that has let it take over – I now have the job of convincing the people around me that I am normal? That I can be annoyed or angry at someone without it being all about depression – instead it can be about ME! And I don’t have to be angry at them because of depression either, it can actually be something they have done, it doesn’t have to be me over reacting or taking things the wrong way!

I want to get back to being thought of as Andrea, not Andrea with depression. I want people to tell me what they think, rather than skirt round it because of how I could react. I don’t need treating like I have something wrong with me, because that’s for me to deal with, and how can I ever truly get better when people tiptoe around being scared to tell me the truth? I want to be treated as the person I used to be – the person I really am. Because having depression does not mean depression defines me – I am still the person I always was.

12 Comments:

  1. I think of you as Andrea, my friend, not Andrea my friend with depression. You’re a fun person to be around, loving, caring and a great laugh and if someone asked me to describe you, depression would be the last thing on my mind x
    Carolin recently posted…Woodford Bridge Country ClubMy Profile

  2. Dont think you, or me for that fact will never be normal. Lol
    Grahams the same if I am grumy I get told I need to take another tablet. Hopefully hes joking!

  3. People often don’t know how to react to someone with an illness, whatever that illness is. It is very difficult when all that people see is the illness and not the person. You are incredibly strong and your personality shines through, I suppose you just need to remind those closest to you sometimes that you can be grumpy without being depressed. I hope he made it up to you x
    Kirsty recently posted…Early Years Maths – Sorting and PatternsMy Profile

  4. Great post. I agree at times with the full sentiment and at others I don’t.

    Yeah. I get the whole husband assuming everything is related. I get asked ‘have you taken your meds?’ And regularly snap back ‘what does that have to do with me being pissed off at you not taking the bins out!’ So glad I’m not alone in that! It winds me up and in that sense yes I agree. I’m so pleased you are at a point you can seperate yourself from it. Your writing on the subject is straight from the heart it feels.

    For me right now, it is defining me and I feel like I’m drowning in it. I’m ok with that right now (like I have a choice) as I need the extra support that brings. Also fighting right now feels too exhausting. At other times I, like you can shine through and I’m my own person.

    Swings and roundabouts. I guess if people look at me as Lexy with Depression, they should probably be bringing me depression cake. It’s my new rule.

    Great post and thanks for reminding me at times it doesn’t define me. X
    Mammywoo recently posted…Another Baby.My Profile

  5. For me anyone who hasn’t experienced depression first hand will never understand that we want normality, to be treated the same, to be ourselves
    Boo Roo and Tigger Too recently posted…Picnic Time {Wednesday Wishlist}My Profile

  6. I hear your frustration :-( people are not well equipped with dealing with other people’s problems. I do hope that they are able to see you as you and treat you the same as everyone.

    Big hugs.
    maggy, red ted art recently posted…Button Crafts: Button Art & Button Cards!My Profile

  7. Every time I come and visit your blog, I smile. Your blog is beautiful inside and out and depression is not a word I would use to describe or define you xx
    Donna @ Little Lilypad Co recently posted…How friendly are the Scottish?My Profile

  8. I have never suffered with depression so I can’t even begin to know how it must feel but it must be so hard and damn right you should be judged as you and not your depression. It sounds as though you are making positive steps and that is amazing.
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…Blogging block and other afflictionsMy Profile

  9. When I think of you I don’t think depression, you clearly have more of an impact as you than you realise x x x
    Jane @ northernmum recently posted…Visiting the fabulous Cliffs Hotel Blackpool…My Profile

  10. I don’ think anyone should be defined by depression or any other illness.

    Glad you are feeling better.
    Rebecca recently posted…Which Merlin Entertainments Attraction is for You?My Profile

  11. I guess it’s hard for people to know how to react sometimes, but I hope they start to see the real you again very soon. xx
    Emma recently posted…Easter Treats from Playmobil – Easter CalendarMy Profile

  12. I have long been a supporter of better information on depression, and better acceptance of mental illness as an illness. And as you say, it’s an illness–a thing separate to you. But I think you’ve made an important step in that YOU don’t define yourself by your depression. As another commenters has said, I don’t think ‘depression’ when I think of you, but I can understand your concerns for people in your everyday life. It must be difficult to find the balance between communicating your needs regarding your depression and encouraging them to think of you as separate from the depression. I hope they’re able to think about it the same as you xox
    Michelle recently posted…Personal branding for novelists: ImageMy Profile

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