I have had this exchange a thousand times,
“I’m really depressed.”
“Why, what happened?”
Have you been missing the plot?
Bipolars Get Depressed
Bipolar disorder is defined as the cycling of moods between a depression and a mania, or hypomania. It is not characterized by being cut off in traffic and then being depressed about it.
Depression Happens. Bipolar Disorder Doesn’t Need a Reason.
I do understand the confusion. For a normal person, emotions have causes. I say something hurtful to you, and you might feel hurt. Someone hits your car and runs, you might feel mad. You break up with your other, you might feel sad. I get that. They taught us the feeling faces in elementary school.
The problem is that for most people, few emotions fall outside this cause and effect. It’s true that people may not always be able to pinpoint the cause, but generally one exists. The only feelings falling outside of this paradigm are things like bad hair days.
Depression Is the Worst Hair Day of Your Life
So when I say to someone that nothing caused the depression, they have no frame of reference. Normal people don’t wake up feeling suicidal. Normal people don’t understand what it is to be crying for no other reason than it is 3:02pm. Or 4:07pm. Or 7:12am. People just can’t comprehend what causes an 180 degree mood swing in a matter of moments. They don’t believe it. They think it isn’t possible. They think I’m sneakily hiding the reason. They seem to think I’m lying to them.
Rest assured; I am not.
Why Do You Have a Cold?
It’s like getting a cold. You have no idea why you have a cold, or how you got it. But you have it. Suddenly. Without warning. You didn’t do anything wrong. And now you’re stuck using up all your tissues and searching the cupboards for chicken soup.
Depression is like that: you don’t know why you have it, or how you got it. But you have it. Suddenly. Without warning. You didn’t do anything wrong. And now you’re stuck using up all your tissues and searching the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s.
No one asks you how you got the cold. They know it’s an illness. I wish people would remember that so is depression. I don’t know why I have it. It just appeared. There is no reason. Stop asking me what happened.