I recently decided to name my depression. His name is Hal, and he’s a he because he’s a dick. (Sorry fellas) We all know the first step is admitting you have a problem. The second, lesser-known step, is naming your problem. You can’t name it something cute or elusive like GlumGlum or Sisyphezche. You have to name it a human, yet non-threatening, name. If I was ever going to get anywhere in dealing with my depression I needed to first admit that it was real, that it exists, and second, I needed to say its name, out loud, to people, other than myself in the shower, my negative inner-selves, and my therapists. Naming it Hal just made it more approachable and easier to still with. But it still wasn’t easy. It’s not easy to admit you have a problem, but it’s necessary and it does help. I learned that awhile ago. My therapist told me I have depression and I finally had to accept that I wasn’t just bummed out, a little anti-social, or 83% introverted. I’m still dealing with it, accepting it. It’s something I have to repeat regularly to remind myself that it’s part of my reality (not to repeat and use as an excuse for my behavior. I’m not trying to ‘get out’ of anything, except maybe some children’s birthday parties, but only the ones with no bounce houses.)
No one wants to admit they have a problem, whatever the problem is – debt, alcoholism, still listening to ska, martial strife; especially not a problem that is affecting their ability to function properly in society at work and in life in general. No one wants to admit they have a problem they can’t solve on their own, quickly and swiftly, effortlessly even. No one wants to be depressed. No one is choosing to be depressed. It’s like homosexuality. I don’t remember if I heard this from a comedian, and if I did I am so sorry that I can’t remember which one and can’t give him/her credit, but no one chooses to be gay because why would anyone choose a life of difficulty and discrimination? Why would anyone choose to live a life where they get picked on, made fun of, feel out of place and just generally often discriminated against. No one is saying “That life looks tough yet fun, I’ll choose that one.” No one. People think depression is a cry for attention. It’s not. A cry for help? Sometimes, possibly. But no one is choosing to be depressed because they think it’s going to be so super, awesome all the time. Because it’s not; there aren’t even parades.
No one wants to admit they have a problem because then they have to solve it. I didn’t want to admit I have depression because now I have to do something about it. If it has a name, it has an identity. If it has an identity, it exists. Deal with it or ignore it. It’s like finding a mouse in your apartment. I successfully denied the presence of a mouse in my apartment for nearly 6 months. I denied the existence of my depression for even longer. Guess what? Neither the mouse nor my depression disappeared because I didn’t name them. Eventually the presence and sheer amount of shit in both situations forced me to do something about the unwanted pests. Unforunately Glen (the mouse) was a bit easier to erradicated than Hal.