"Depression? Isn't that just a fancy word for feeling bummed out?"

Today was a bad day.

I woke up from a pretty soul-crushing dream, in which a person I love and admire said some terrible things to me - some things I’ve self-consciously hated about myself for quite a while. After waking up and showering (attempting to clean off my crummy mood), I knew that I would have to spend the majority of the day dropping off my friend at the airport; a friend that had been visiting for the weekend, who I will (likely) not see for the better part of a year. After dropping off said friend at the airport (and approximately 6 hours of driving), I had to run an impromptu errand for my wife, which ultimately resulted in me getting into an annoying fender bender. To top off the shit sandwich that was today, it also happened to be a Monday.

Today also happened to be a good day.

I woke up next to my amazing, supporting, loving wife. Even though my visiting friend’s trip was coming to an end, I still got to spend a few hours with him on the trip out to the airport; a drive that cemented how silly, stupid, and amazingly goofy we can be together (after more than a decade of friendship dating back to high school). And yes - I did get in a fender-bender, which was at least partially my fault - but the guy in the other vehicle was incredibly calm, kind, and respectful, and I’m sure that his day was just as encumbered by this annoyance as mine was (if not more so). I was able to pick up dinner on the way home, where my best friend (a wonderfully derpy mutt named Rocky) was waiting for me, shaky tail and all. To top it all off, I’m preparing to spend a couple of days later this week with my beautiful wife as we celebrate our four-year wedding anniversary (and more than a decade together).

I’m sure that when I look back on my life, this day will be just a blip in the past: a bad day in a sea full of them. However, that didn’t stop me from feeling all of the bad parts from today much more than I felt the good, and endlessly replaying them in my mind (even as I type this hours later). It’s hard for my mind to let those things go, and they just end up compounding upon each other… building and mounting upon all of the years of bad decisions and the stresses of my day-to-day life.

That’s the terrible thing about depression: it’s not like you can just shake it off. It’s just always there, waiting for the cracks in the levees. It waits for the perfect moment to hit, and then it’s overwhelming; the world seems to slink away, and soon enough, you’re living in the gray. The color from the world begins to fade, and you’re right back to where you were the last time it hit: no matter if it was ten days ago, ten months, or ten years ago.

I’m not ashamed to say that today - for the first time in quite a while - I cried. Not for any one reason, either: the minor car accident was stressful (and slightly embarrassing), but not traumatic in any way; my friend leaving was sad, but commonplace; and the bad dream was likely just my brain’s way of trying to figure out why I am the way I am (at least, I think so - dreams are fickle like that).

My point with this post isn’t to point out how bad I have it or anything. Promise me, it’s not - I acknowledge that I’ve got a pretty great life, and I try my best to enjoy it each and every day.

However, I bet that those I know and love have no idea that simply stepping out the front door is a minor victory for me every day; how I long to do or say nothing at all; that - when faced with any kind of struggle - my first inclination is to run away. I know that many people don’t know about these things because I hide them… just like I normally hide my emotions on a bad day, and pretend like I’m fine when I’m demonstrably not. That’s because depression doesn’t wear itself like a badge… it’s just something that’s there, and can only ever really be avoided (not deterred). I may seem like a jolly, cheery, happy-go-lucky guy, but I have a lot of deep-seeded issues that I’ve struggled with for the better part of my life, and I’m working every day to overcome them.

My point with this post, I guess, is to highlight that… I’m human, as are you reading this (unless some civilization is discovering this in the distant future, or some AI is trying to figure out the construct of the human mind). I need to learn how to deal with the negative aspects of life in a productive way instead of hiding from them, because - no matter what - depression isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes shit just happens. That realization doesn’t fix any of my issues, but it helps put them in perspective. Things happen, and all I can do - as a human - is attempt to work through them. In some ways I’ll fail, and in others I’ll succeed. But admitting that I have problems is the only way to fix them, I guess.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. Like many things in my life, I’m just throwing it out there in the hopes that it finds someone who feels the same way. I’d love to hear from anyone reading how they deal with depression, and the ways they cope with it on a regular basis.