Tonight at dinner someone mentioned Silver Linings Playbook, a movie about people with mental illness. My uncle chimed in “It did a very good job of portraying what someone with depression and anxiety is like”.
I felt the hurt of it before I realized why. Something bubbled up inside of me with the need to yell “Here’s what someone with depression and anxiety is like. Your niece!”
Sometimes people with depression can make it through a whole dinner conversation, but sometimes they need to escape to the basement with the kids.
Sometimes people with depression are willing to chime in and talk, and sometimes they’re quiet.
Sometimes people with depression are manipulative and self-centered, and sometimes they are selfless and kind.
Sometimes people with depression eat pie. Sometimes they eat steak. Sometimes they eat ramen noodles from a package.
People with depression graduate college. Or not. They hold down jobs, except sometimes when they can’t.
They might be a dog person or a cat person, a people person, or not so much.
Sometimes they die of a drug overdose and sometimes they fly through school with straight A’s and land their dream job.
Someone with depression might be bounding with energy or they might take naps every day just to make it to the evening.
Some people with depression will let you know about it and others won’t.
Some people with depression have kids, others never will.
Some are chatty, chatty, chatty, others introverted.
Sometimes they make it through incredibly difficult times. You might not know they’re hurting so bad inside. Sometimes they crash and burn (but even when they do, they usually don’t want you to know).
A person with depression could be scrappy or smart or artsy or average or generous or really any adjective you might be able to think of to describe a human being.
Sometimes they hate themselves for having depression but sometimes they just hate you for using phrases like “people with depression” as if they’re a monolithic and foreign species.
Someone with depression might just be like that person sitting right next to you. Your niece, your cousin, your daughter. And they might just never open up to you about their depression if you say things like that.
Because let’s be up front here: people with depression are pretty much like other people. Some things are just a little harder for them. And it pretty much is horrible to be considered a foreign people that your family members need to watch movies about in order to get an inkling of how you work and who you are, or to be completely erased for a fictional portrayal of mental illness.