On Depression by Jasmine Warga

Todays post was written by Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes. I just want to take this moment to thank Jasmine for writing this piece. When I was in that dark place one of the hardest things I found was talking to other people about how I was feeling. I was terrified of having to go speak to a doctor. As someone who got out of that dark place entirely on my own please trust me when I say, talk to people about how you feel. It helps.

If I could make people understand anything about depression it would be this: Depression is a disease that preys on isolation. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy. It can convince you that you are worthless, alone, and undeserving of love. And worse, since depression usually does not present with physical identifiers—i.e. you don’t lose your hair, you don’t develop large bruises, you don’t have a fever—it can be very hard for your friends and loved ones to detect. Which brings me to what I think is the most maddening aspect of depression—while connecting with others and talking about what is going on inside your head can be the key to surviving depression, the disease oftentimes makes it almost impossible to do just that.

I know from my own experience that when you are in that black hole, the very idea of talking can seem impossible. It can feel like your mouth is full of cotton, completely ill-equipped to explain to another person the bully that your mind has become. Worse, your mind will convince you that no one wants to hear about your issues. That if you express what is really going on inside that your friends will judge you or turn away. But this is not true. If you, or someone you love, are struggling, please, please find a way to communicate your feelings. Your communication doesn’t even have to be oral. Sometimes I find it easier to write down what is going on inside my own head than to say it aloud. Some people find it easiest to draw a picture. But please find a way to make sure you are heard. People want to help. People want to listen.

Lastly, I always cringe when I hear phrases such as: “Don’t be sad”. These phrases imply that the sufferer somehow has a choice in how he or she is feeling, which is patently untrue. (A quick disclaimer: I believe this to be true for situational and chemical depression, as well as that murky mix of both that so often occurs.) It helped me immensely with my own mental health to embrace the concept that I had no control over how I felt, but I did have control over how I responded to those feelings. The most important thing that I would love for readers to take away from MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES is the understanding that depression is a very REAL and SERIOUS disease—a disease for which you should seek treatment and help, but not a disease that has to be terminal. There is help. There is hope.

Jasmine can be found on Twitter: @JasmineWarga and on her website. My Heart and Other Black Holes will be available to buy in shops and online from the 12th of February.

29 thoughts on “On Depression by Jasmine Warga

        1. Maybe try talking to a doctor? The UK might not be that great at treating mental health but I know talking to my doctor about how I’m feeling helps. I think there are also charities you can talk to.

      1. I completely agree with @bluchickenninja’s comment about finding the right person to talk to. It’s not easy at all and it sounds like you’ve had a tougher time of finding someone than most. I tried two counsellors through uni who left me feeling even worse before finding one where I live who helps me enormously (I had been too scared to talk to friends and family first). I hope you find an outlet soon – Mind are a great charity with fantastic resources, I’d really recommend getting touch with them 🙂

  1. I’m glad to see that depression is getting attention now. Hopefully, people will understand that it’s not just something that you talk yourself out of. You don’t just wake up one morning, give yourself a pep talk and presto you’re not depressed. It doesn’t work like that. It’s a grey fog that descends and lifts seemingly at will. We all need patience, both the people suffering with depression and their friends and family who want to help.

  2. Well written. I use my journal (both elec and handwritten) which can be very handy so long as one doesn’t wallow in your misery. Now that I’m lucky to have meds that work for me (after a serious 5- year never-ending Major Depression thingy), I looked back at my journals and saw that there was some wallowing that happened. As a step to recovery, now that I’m more certain of that, I took them to Office Depot and paid them shred them (and I watched them do it). I found that a nice way to represent a moving forward step for me in my own particular journey. Journals are a great tool, especially if you have no one to really listen to you.

  3. The hard thing about listening is being able to understand what one is told.
    The article gave me some hope, because there are people who might understand and are not professionals who earn their living with it.

  4. In Canada we have a Bell Let’s Talk Day – 4th annual on Wednesday past – where everyone is encouraged to discuss depression and all mental illness openly, in an effort to end the stigma. Slowly but surely I think it is doing some good. The worst thing we can do is be silent as if it will simply go away if we ignore it.

  5. Thank you for posting this… I’m in the middle of navigating through a ‘black hole’ and it helps knowing I’m not flying solo. x

  6. Great article! Finding people to talk to is not always easy. Some people find that the people they think of as close friends do not necessarily want to know, whilst it’s the ones that you may not think of as close – acquaintances, even – who come through.

    Re “Bell Let’s Talk” day, I have just found out about this via another blog. Bluchickenninja, we have something similar in the UK, via the “Time to Change” anti-stigma campaign. It’s on Thursday 5 February: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

    Look forward to reading Jasmine’s book.

  7. Even if you find someone to talk about depression, it is still hard to deal with it. What helped me the most was to discover that I’m not alone, that I am not the only one suffering from depression. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, that’s why I’d like to help others and I want to bring depression more into public focus. I hope I can achieve these goals with my short story.

  8. Excellent post. They say life is a journey and I think that can be said about some cases of depression. Sometimes there is a trigger, then you have to maneuver the mine fields, and hopefully you to to a better place. But, it certainly is a struggle.

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