Recently someone posted this on Facebook:
“I am grateful for being aware that I have choice. I choose happiness, I am happy, It’s simple, but funny how I used to think that it was out of my control. Those were bummer days:(
Could it be as simple for you too? Yes! Say it over and over, you will start to believe it, . . . I dare you to be happy! I triple dog dare you to choose Happy! lol Choice, it’s that simple.”
I’m going to set aside my grammar snobbishness and dive straight to the heart of the matter: Major depressive disorder is an illness. I have not chosen to be depressed.
Has anyone ever suggested schizophrenia is a choice? Next Facebook status update: “I triple dog dare you to stop hearing voices!”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.” Sadly, there’s a good chance my brain is not wired like the brain of the average person. MRI studies have actually shown that the brains of depressed people look different from those of non-depressed people.
I’m not removing personal effort from the equation. If I sit by passively, depression will kill me. I choose to see my therapist and psychiatrist. I choose to take my medications. I choose to get out of bed in the morning even though there’s nothing I’d like more than to pull the covers over my head and spend an entire day in the fetal position. I choose to fight.
But telling me to choose to be happy? That’s like telling a type I diabetic to will her pancreas to produce insulin. It just ain’t gonna happen. So she’ll take her medications and her blood sugar will stay under control, but she’ll still be a diabetic.
I take my medication. Sometimes my depression is under control. But underneath it all, I’m still depressed. There’s a good chance I’ll always be depressed. That fact alone is…well, it’s depressing.
But it’s not my choice.
Saying it’s my choice suggests that in some sick and twisted way I enjoy being miserable. I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. Those of you who read my blog regularly know how much I love laughing. I despise drama in my life (unless the drama revolves around how unbelievably awesome things are).
Could I do more for myself? Of course. I need more sleep, more exercise, more time spent on myself. But I don’t know many people who wouldn’t say the same.
I choose to be happy, but for some reason beyond my understanding, God has chosen a different path for me. Does that mean I spend every minute hating life? Well, duh. Obviously not.
I’m trying to think of something funny to tell you to prove I’m a happy-go-lucky gal, but go figure, for once in my life I’m at a loss for words. Crapsticks. BUT I’M FUNNY, DAMMIT!
I promise I’m not turning this blog into a big platform to talk about my depression issues. That would be boring and lame, and I’m not boring and lame. SHUT UP. I’M NOT.
*I totally have the supplies for my advent calendars. Now I just have to actually make them.
**That’s the easy part, right?
***Y’all get the Pokemon reference in the title, right? No? Crap. I’m such a geek.
****Speaking of geeks, you should’ve seen my reaction when I discovered they have the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon on DVD on amazon.com. Oh yes, they do.