Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sabotaged Pacifism

Here's a fundamental part of me: I hate conflict. I always have. I hate it so much, it makes me so uncomfortable, that when I see/hear conflict, even if only as a friendly argument, I have to try not to physically retch. After a childhood of watching two family members frequently use anger in a purely destructive manner, I have always tried to avoid feeling angry. I thought it was a bad emotion. It's not; it's a gift from God that is used to initiate change - if we're angry about something we want to change it - but that's a whole different post.

If you think you have no control over your emotions in general, depression takes that to a whole new level. It introduces you to emotions you didn't even know existed, that you'd heard about but never felt before, at levels you didn't even think was possible. Of course, most people just think that means a really low mood, being really, really sad.

That's the tip of the iceberg.

Remember how I said in my previous post that I have a child-like joy in the world in general? Well, let me now tell you that sometimes I could have easily gone into my favourite nerd-shop and left a bombsite. I'm talking windows smashed, tables snapped in two (don't know I would have done that - I'm pretty weak! - but I would have found a way), everything off the shelves and damaged in some way, the hooks they hung from on the floor and bent, all types of paper shredded by my own hands.... I would have wrecked the place, had I been given half the chance. The cherry on top of this was the reason for this massive overreaction; there was none. There usually isn't one. Your emotions can just pop up, at staggering intensity, following none of the patterns you may or may not have observed in yourself pre-depression.

There's one small consolation though; there's a reason for this lack of reason. Depression is caused by, amongst other things, a biochemical imbalance in the body. There are a lot of chemicals that have ridiculously long names that your body has to regulate very accurately and carefully in order to be "normal". It's pretty amazing to be able to do that in the first place. But studies have shown that these carefully monitored and controlled levels of biochemicals are really far off where they need to be in someone with depression.

For any sceptics out there who don't believe that mental health disorders are the same as physical disorders, chemical imbalances are found in many if not all medical conditions. Stroke and assorted difficulties? Chemical imbalances. Parkinson's? Chemical imbalances. Autism? Chemical imbalances. Mental health disorders and "physical" disorders are exactly as debilitating as each other. So the point here is that it's not a trick of your mind. You're not just being weak and pathetic, you are ill. You have as much to be ashamed of as if you had a broken leg instead. You just need time and resources to be able to heal.