I've been going through some depression recently, as readers of my blog will know. I've also been getting a lot of offers from friends to talk it out, help deal with it, try to offer some consolation or insight. I have been consistently turning these offers down, and I fear that may be causing some mixed signals. I feel I owe these people an explanation, but I really can't do it on a case by case basis. So I'm going to take the time to explain now, and redirect future inquiries to this post.
When I talk to people about my problems, they often attempt to find a solution, in the hopes of making it better. This is very generous, and I'm grateful for the thought. It has been helping quite a lot to know that I have friends who care enough about me to want to help me through my struggles.
But the problem right now isn't one big problem. It's a combination of a lot of problems, which I have varying levels of control over, and it doesn't appreciably help to solve any of them. That doesn't mean I'm not working through them, but it does mean that I don't feel a sudden rush of relief when they're solved.
The way this often plays out in conversation comes off as hurtful -- I can seem like I'm trying to make excuses, and hiding the real source of my depression. This is not the case -- it's just that there isn't one 'real source,' and it's probably in large part just my brain chemistry, which I can't do anything about.
Whatever solution my friends might offer, I might have already thought of it, or have thought of something else I already intend to implement, or can't implement the offered solution, for reasons I haven't explained. As I said above, there's too much going on in my head right now to fully explain it to anyone.
This can sound like I'm evading the person I'm talking to, or trying for some reason to keep the problem un-solved. It can make the person I'm talking to frustrated or angry, which I don't want, both because it's stressful to me when my friends are annoyed with me, and I don't want to put my friends through needless emotional distress.
Conversation is emotionally exhausting, especially about the subjects that are distressing me. Because I'm depressed, I'm running on a very, very low emotional budget right now.
It may be that you would be totally understanding if I were to go through this explanation personally with you, but this conversation is not free of emotional cost. It's been taking me serious emotional energy to just get out of bed in the morning, and if I'm out against my more paranoid judgement, I may not have the emotional energy to spare helping you understand -- especially if I've left the house in hopes of finding some way to emotionally recharge.
This can lead me to situations, and has in the past, where I've gotten part way through a conversation with someone about my emotional state, and just can't continue on. I have had to abruptly end conversations with friends, in sometimes hurtful ways, because I simply can't bear the strain of keeping the conversation going.
My blog has been a valuable outlet to me, primarily because I don't have to keep up a conversation about it. It allows me space to air my thoughts without having to field responses immediately. It also gives me the peace of mind that I'm not hiding my problems, so my friends who do care can know where I'm at, and know they don't have to worry, because I'm addressing my depression in my own way.
I can't say enough how glad I am to have friends who care about me. Your offers to help have been a continual comfort, and I am grateful for them. If there comes a time in the future where I feel I am able to talk about what's going on, I will. I promise.
For now, thank you for offering, but I'd rather talk about something else.