A fact about depression is that it won’t send a courtesy text or call before entering your life. Depression comes knocking at the door at a time most unexpected and crashes your whole system down. You may have all that you have asked for and yet depression will come as an unwanted guest and stay. Stay till you wish for death.
But don’t. I know it is easier in theory than in practice. When depression hits, a person becomes like a bull in china shop. So, it is important to understand the root causes of the disease. It is observed that people who are empathetic and excessively compassionate have more chances of being depressed.
“My father had taught me to be nice first because you can always be mean later, but once you’ve been mean to someone, they won’t believe nice anymore. So be nice, be nice, until it’s time to stop being nice, then destroy them.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton, A Stroke of Midnight.
The damage of depression
While a person with depression could be perceived to be selfish or self-absorbed, there is a strong chance that they are of the people-pleaser category. Pleasing people is not a bad thing but that exhausts one emotionally and drains their mental faculties. If you care too much, the other person gets hardly any space to care for you even if they wish to.
Being stricken with depression myself, for two long years, I can now, as an outsider (since I believe I am out of that hell), tell that depression is directly linked to our need for external validation. Sometimes people-pleasing may culminate into an aggressive defense of negative people and go out of their way unnecessarily. I used to feel similarly.
When I was in that phase of depression, I kept feeling as if tending to my emotional needs should come second and I should rather go out of my way to help others in order to get external validation. This did make me happy sometimes. But the crux is that within this activity of filling someone else’s emotional pool, we end up being depleted ourselves and depression seeps in.
I felt I had to help others in whatever ways and means they are asking for. Whenever I was praised even slightly, my emotional pool got richer and I felt a temporary rush of happiness which only lasted an hour or so. Post that rush, depression came in even worse and in a harsh manner.
To curb this, I took several therapy sessions because of the permanent state of being unhappy. However, all those sessions seemed futile after a point. I was giving too much and leaving nothing for myself.
In fact, because of being a person with an excessive need to be nice, I ended up annoying some people as well.
One has to look at the issue in this way. Suppose you are assigned a plant to grow and obviously you need to water it and do weeding and other gardening stuff to keep it healthy. However, if you overdo the job, you will most definitely kill it. Then you become the murderer. Get it? When we overdo things, we end up being the guilty party because either the other party raises unreasonable expectations or they simply loathe too much effort on your part They might be interpreting this as pity or sacrifice.
The way to happiness originates from within and after moving around and traveling, it could end. With this being a fact, let me tell you the solution of depression, once and for all: Self-love.
If you cannot love yourself FIRST, there is hardly any love you can give out. Go, get up and find the nearest mirror. Tell yourself- I love you. You are doing great.
Do not drop the keys of your happiness in the pocket of a stranger or even a loved one. When you tell people that they come first, you are also telling them that you come second. That causes a sadness that has almost no cure other than learning to love the soft animal inside of you.