Don’t Tell Me to Smile

Depression doesn’t care if you believe in it or not

It is very hard to explain to people who have never known serious depression or anxiety the sheer continuous intensity of it. There is no off switch.

— Matt Haig

As someone who believes very strongly in popular concepts like ‘The Law of Attraction’ and ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’, it can be incredibly difficult to rationalize or explain things like depression. Yes, maybe I did manifest this negative spiritual and emotional energy into existence by focusing too much on what I didn’t want, but please don’t tell me that.

Asking me to ‘just smile and concentrate on positive thoughts’ when I am in the middle of a vicious onslaught of depression, is about as effective as encouraging a drowning person to ‘just breathe and think of oxygen in your lungs’.

Once a storm hits, downplaying its existence or calling it a sunny day, will not stop it from raining.

It’s like this with depression as well. I can understand why a person on the outside looking in would believe that snapping out of a depressive state should be a simple matter of willpower. But as anyone who has ever suffered from depression knows, it is not that easy.

It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling — that really hollowed-out feeling.

— J.K Rowling

People have used many words in an effort to explain the insidious shadow that is depression.

There are no words to fully express the complexity of this dark phenomenon and perhaps endeavoring to describe it only adds to its expansion. Just know that once I’m in the grips of this fearsome monster, all of the words in the world won’t save me.

I get it, you care about me and you just want to help.

You can’t bear to see someone you love suffer and you feel completely helpless in your attempts to ease my desolate and apathetic affliction. I assure you that it is not your fault. But I implore you to realize that trying to convince me that it’s my fault and my choice, is not the answer. Attempting to persuade me that I fabricated this mind-numbing madness will not help. Yes, I may have emitted a negative frequency out into the universe. I may have created my own suffering. It may all actually be an illusion.

But you telling me this doesn’t make it any better. It only adds more resistance and magnifies the malady.

So, what can you do to help?

Believe in me. Understand that I am aware of the pain that I am causing you and am doing my best to trudge through the darkness towards the light. Keep shining your vibrant light and know that I want nothing more than to be there bathing in its glowing warmth with you. Give me the space I need to work through my issues without making me feel guilty for not being there as you would like me to be. And please continue loving me until I remember how to love myself.

Originally published on Bobby J Mattingly

Featured image by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Published by Bobbyjmattingly

Bobby J Mattingly is an author, social media strategist, content creator, personal development advisor and inspirational speaker.

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