As I’ve been doing so much better for so long now, it’s gotten easier and easier to not think about what depression is like and how it affected me for so long. But then I remember, or today, I find out that someone I care about is suffering.
Today it was a teenager I work with. She comes from a very strict religious immigrant family, has no siblings her age (she is the youngest by 15 years or so), she goes to a lousy school with little support, and she’s super smart. This is not a great combination. She is also pretty socially awkward, probably in large part because she’s not being challenged.
I see the signs and I wonder why no one saw them in me when I was 14 or 15. She’s tired ALL THE TIME. I remember that feeling – when you don’t know how you got so tired or how you will ever stop being tired or if it’s even possible, but that sleep is all you want, all the time, but it’s never enough.
She’s cynical about everything. Nothing is going to work, nothing is good enough, nobody likes her, and nothing is worthwhile. Which, of course, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy pretty quickly.
She gets irritable and angry really quickly. Any kind of slight or perceived slight is enough to make her threaten to quit or leave, even when it was something completely innocent.
There’s more, but those are the ones that really jumped out at me. Especially the fatigue. Oh, the fatigue. My whole life feels like it was gray and tired until very recently, and I have a hard time sometimes forgetting that I’m NOT tired all the time, and that everything around me isn’t gray.
So I’m trying to process that and at the same time figure out how to help her. It’s not made any easier by the fact that I’m not sure how someone could have helped me. I needed medication LONG before I got it, and it took me 15 years of trying medication to find the one that lifted me out of the gray clouds. I don’t know how to help someone who has parents who are ignoring this and who might not know how to talk about it culturally.