I had depression before it was cool. Not sure when exactly was the time depression exploded into an epidemic but I was depressed before I even knew what it really meant. I fought it and would you believe it if I tell you that I won over my depression? You see one of the biggest triggers of depression is pain. It is not the cause, it is the trigger. Denying this pain evolves into depression. Running away from that feeling of pain causes us to stagnate. Depression is stagnation.
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There was a point in my life where I almost believed that I have become a sociopath. You know those quizzes that supposed to tell you that your 60% stupid and 40% clueless? Well, I took the “are you a sociopath?” quiz. And you know what? I managed to get a 90% sociopath tendencies. I remember not being alarmed at this amused even. “Me, a sociopath? How cool is that?” I thought. I wanted to get a second opinion. Don’t ask me why, I just wanted to get a second opinion, so I went to our college guidance counselor. I told her, “Ma’am I think I’m a sociopath.” She said, “Oh yeah, why is that?” so I said I took a quiz on the internet. Obviously, she told me that I cannot believe all the things I see on the internet. She also said that she’d let me take a psychological test just to prove if I was really a sociopath. I took the test. The results came a week later.
I remember expecting to hear she would tell me that yes, I was indeed a sociopath. Instead, she told me that I have major trust issues. I’m not talking about puny trust issues. I’m talking about traumatic trust issues. So she asked me, “what is your goal, what do you want to achieve with our conversations?” I remember telling her that maybe I needed somebody to know. Of what exactly, you ask? I didn’t even know at that time. All I can tell you is I proceeded to go on weekly one-hour-long sessions.
In those weekly sessions, I’d share her about my heartaches towards my parents. Fighting off the tears I managed to tell about that time my mother called me to come home. I traveled by land and water, only to realize that she needed me to clean up after our cat’s droppings that they have purposely neglected to clean for months. Despite the hurt, I loved my mom, and I still cleaned up after the cats.
I still looked up to my dad. Recounting the time when, despite all my achievements in architecture school, my father would call me “a good for nothing kid” who has nothing to show for made me realize how much I wanted my dad’s approval.
I felt like an failed investment.
I told her a few more similar stories the succeeding weeks after that. I’d cover my face in a fruitless effort to hold back my tears every week. It broke my heart to tell her that I was so ashamed of failing my thesis because I was late to submit for just 10 minutes. I cried so hard that day in my friend’s rented room because I tried my hardest and still failed. Like a robot, I told my parents that I failed to pass the final year. There was no emotion on the delivery of it. They interpreted it as I being so casual about failing, that I could not even show my sadness. I felt that they hated me because of it.
One day, I have no more stories to tell. I felt lighter. I can’t really say that I was happy but I was lighter nonetheless. Who could have told me that so much hurt could be unearthed until those weeks reliving the pain all over again.
A few months later I ran away to live on my own. I managed to get a job at a call center agency. Earning for myself, I did not contact any of my family for about 3 years. In order for people to respect me, I needed to respect myself first. Now, we are talking again. Healing will be slow, but it is progress.
I remember a quote from one of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga. It was about fear, however, it can be applied to pain as well. My modified quote is, “I will face my pain. I will permit it to pass over and through me, and when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the pain has gone there will be healing and only strength remain.” It was silly to think that an “are you a sociopath?” quiz could be the catalyst for me to winning over my depression. I ran away from my pain. Then I faced it, and It went through and over me. Looking back, I can say that I couldn’t have done it any other way.