Monday, March 11, 2013

Is depression an excuse?

I can't decide if this post is offensive or not. You tell me, but please be kind...I don't like being yelled at, even over the internets.

Is depression an excuse? I suffer from depression (seasonal, major, manic, you name it, I've got it). Not all the time though. It comes in little fits and spurts, as unpredictable as Colorado weather. Some days I'm fine. Some days I'm happy, even manic. Then some days I just crash. BOOM! And I sit in the wreckage and wonder why I even try.

I don't even know what that means. Why I even try what? To live? To love? To make pancakes? It's a little too abstract to be taken seriously. I think that depression is a scapegoat. Not all the time, and not for all people, but for me, I think that my depression is an excuse.

I've been doing really well in school. Like super awesome. Like 99%'s on my tests and 100%'s on my homework assignments awesome. And then, this past week, I mysteriously stopped doing my homework or going to class. For no real reason. Why? Because depression had descended. Why? Maybe because that is the nature of the disease. Or maybe because I'm afraid of my success.

If I admit that I am doing well, then I set my foot on the path to success. If I start walking down that path, I have to make choices about my future. I have to start deciding what comes next. Should I go to grad school? Should I apply for internships overseas? Should I start looking into some possible careers? AAAAHHHH! Panic attack! This is just another form of that passion thing I'm so afraid of. Basically, by doing well in school, I am opening up exciting (and terrifying) new possibilities.

So I blame my depression instead of facing the real problem. My life has given me plenty of fodder for depression, plenty of excuses not to succeed. I have had to fight some uphill battles, and given the circumstances, I'm sure people would let me off easy if I just gave up. Who would judge the girl whose dad committed suicide for suddenly giving up on school? The perfect excuse to fail.

But it really is just an excuse. The truth is that I'm not failing, and I won't fail. Yes, I have depression. Yes, I have had some awful things happen in my life. But I cannot use these hardships like smoke and mirrors to distract people (and, more importantly, myself) from the real issue. I freak out when things start looking good. The security blanket of failure is lifted, and my depression is just my fear fighting like hell to hold on to...what? Nothing good.

So I say that my depression is an excuse. It's hard to admit this, and it will be even harder to fight it, but I'm going to.

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