Have you ever had a cold that you just can't shake. Day after day the coughing, sniffling, headache keep coming. There are days that the cold saps every ounce of energy you could possibly have and you lie in a heap on your couch with a box of tissue and try to will yourself up to do ANYTHING. There are days you have a burst of energy and grocery shop, clean the kitchen and tackle the laundry. At the end of the day you're exhausted and realize that maybe it was a bit much to try to handle with an impaired immune system but you DID it, you tackled your day. Some days it just slows you down. You still accomplish a bit but have to sit often to recoup or to cough up a lung.
Sometimes you feel the cold coming on and you start getting extra rest and extra vitamin c in your system. Sometimes those preventive measures help and you don't get knock down, drag out sick. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much prevention you have done, you still get hit with the full force of the bug and it incapacitates you for any length of time.
A couple of years ago I got swine flu. Talk about a NASTY sickness. It came on so suddenly. I went from a scratchy throat to a raging fever and aching body in less than 12 hours. The fever hit quickly. I was in the waiting room at the hospital to hear how my dad-in-laws surgery had gone when I realized I felt like I was on fire and my head was feeling heavy. Hubby confirmed that I needed to leave the hospital and not see dad because I was definitely running a fever. No amount of prep could have stopped the sickness that raged in my body during that time. After the fever and aches had gone, they left my body with a deep, consistent and painful cough. The doctor told me it could take 12 weeks for the cough to leave. Twelve weeks? That is THREE MONTHS! I was coughing for about 9 weeks. I was weaker than normal and easily tired. And do you know what? Not one person told me to just get over it.
Depression is a lot like having a cold that just won't go away. There are days that it kicks my butt and I lie on my couch willing myself to get up and do something but I can't. There are days when I feel good. I'm motivated and get a bunch done but go to bed so completely exhausted and wonder if maybe I overdid it. There are days that it slows me down but I can push through it. Unless you have dealt with the depths of depression, you will never fully understand how crippling it can be. Yet I hear so often that someone struggling should just get over it. If it were that easy, those of us who deal with depression would leap for joy and never be under its crushing weight again!
No one has ever told someone to just get over a cold. No one says just get over diabetes, cystic fibrosis or cancer. Why are unseen diseases different? Why are depression and chronic fatigue diseases that that people should just get over? The truth is that though the medication I'm on right now helps more than any of the others I've tried, it doesn't cure depression. Thinking positive thoughts doesn't cure depression. Wanting to be no longer depressed doesn't cure depression. And while there are things that help make it more bearable, and times that it isn't crushing my body and soul, I have never seen an actual cure for depression.
This weekend my depression has manifest in sheer exhaustion. Even thinking about doing something had me longing for a nap. I don't feel sad. It isn't an emotion right now, it is a physical sensation much equivalent to the exhaustion I experienced while my body recovered from swine flu. My whole body feels heavy. I just want to sleep for days upon end. And believe me, I do want to "just get over it" but it doesn't work that way.