People with invisible diseases and disorders (like ADHD, Hashimoto’s or Lyme disease) are often diagnosed with depression, and, while I do think it’s possible for us to have depression, I don’t think it’s usually the right word to describe what we’re dealing with.
What is the right word?
We feel defeated.
While both words indicate that you feel down, depression is usually accompanied by a desire to cease to exist. The connotation is, at least, that you’re headed for suicide. It also holds the idea that there’s no reasonable explanation for you feeling this way.
Defeated makes more sense.
Let me tell you why.
We get up every day knowing full well that Life will knock up on our hineys. Again. Yet, day after day after day we get up and face the same battles. Just to lose those battles once again.
We don’t want to die (usually).
We want better results.
We want to be better equipped for battle. We’re like poorly trained and poorly prepared soldiers with the odds stacked against us.
If we experience defeat often enough and seriously enough, unfortunately, it can lead to real depression where we really do want to end it all, because you can only do the same thing every single time and fail for so long before you just want to give up.
Imagine if our spouses treated us like Life does? Life makes all these promises and shares all these wonderful, hope-filled ideas, but when you need his help? Nope, he’s next door chatting up Lila, your pretty neighbor, helping her clean her house. On the days he is home and not off gallivanting, he does everything he can to keep you off track so you can’t accomplish your tasks. He knows you have a beautiful, imaginative brain, but he ties you up during the day so you can’t actually do anything with it.
If Life was a person, his treatment would be abusive.
If Life was a person, you could kick his sorry hiney out the door.
But he’s not. He’s Life. You’re stuck with him.
You fight him day in and day out doing everything in your power to do what should be done, but, nope, your power isn’t anything compared to his. I mean, how can you be more powerful than Life itself?
Eventually, you realize you’re fighting a losing battle.
One day, you might decide you’re not even getting out of bed that day, because –what’s the point?
If you really sink low, you might think about ending it all. (Please, don’t.)
Hopefully, eventually, you talk yourself into climbing back out from under the sheets and facing another day.
After all, this is your Life, and it’s the only one you’ve got. You’re too stubborn to just give up and die.
So, you start the battle all over again, but the years of constant inner battles weigh on you. They age you prematurely, maybe not externally, but inwardly. You feel like you’ve lived a thousands lived and found a thousand battles.
The trauma from the ongoing battles sometimes takes the form of PTSD, further isolating you from other people and further complicating your health.
You see Life treating other people kindly, and have to work to not be bitter.
People can’t see what Life has done to you, and they judge you for all the things they think you should do. You know you can’t and that it’s not you fault, but it doesn’t matter. They judge you anyway.
You swear that you will never treat other people with the unkindness you’ve been dealt.
You find a tribe of people like you, people who understand, and you band together in this battle against Life. You remind each other that it’s gonna be okay, that nothing Life does to them makes them unlovable, that they’re accepted just as they are. Their encouragement and knowing you’re not alone makes Life a little more bearable.
You keep going to doctors until you find real answers, real treatments, ways to block out or overcome what Life has done to you.
If you believe in God, you cry out to Him over and over, trusting, hoping, believing that there’s a greater plan in all this, that He is greater than anything this Life can throw at you. This hope makes you able to move forward one day at a time.
And, every once in awhile, when Life knocks you down again, you remind yourself to look around and take count of the good things, the blessings, because they are actually many, and Life, with his devious little schemes, cannot take your positivity and determination away from unless you let him.
And, that is why I think we feel defeated and not depressed.