Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Selfish Disease?

Yesterday, a trusted friend uttered the words "depression is a selfish illness."
Yesterday, someone who should understand this illness, dared to say that I, and others who suffer depression, are selfish.
Yesterday, because of 5 little words, I felt selfish, which caused me to feel even more depressed.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, selfish is defined as: "(Of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure."

On the one hand, it is sometimes true that when someone is in a depression, they do lack consideration for others. But this is not always the case. Often we do consider them, but lack the ability to truly help others or be there for them, which in turn causes our depression to worsen. Is this selfishness? Is it selfish to be physically and emotionally incapable of helping other people? 

"Concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure"... well, I guess this part could also be considered true - at least to the degree that I do not know a single depressed person who wants to be depressed, and instead does want to find some sort of joy in their life. They do want the personal profit of a full month, or week, or even just a day, of happiness. Is that selfish? Is it wrong to want to not live in emotional pain on a continuous basis? 

For me... when I think of something being selfish, I think of it being a conscious effort to achieve personal gain (or, personal perceived gain). The acts that stem from depression - the inability to put others first, or to do what should be done - are subconscious symptoms of a debilitating disease.  

But, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe even in writing this, I'm being selfish. Maybe that's all it is and all it ever has been.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Baby Brother

Tonight, it hit me just how much I miss you, Matthew.

You were my baby. I watched you be born. I was the one in charge of taking care of you from the time you first came home. I was the one who held you and rocked you when you were sick and our parents were too preoccupied to be bothered with a little baby. I was the one who held you all night long when you couldn't sleep in your crib, falling asleep in a chair with you in my arms. I was the one who sang or read you to sleep almost every night until you were seven years old. I was the one who took care of you when you were hurt, or sick, or sad.

I never got to know the kid you grew up to be... or the teenager... or the man. I left home and didn't look back. And now, it's too late. I will never know. No one will.

In 12 days... well, 11 considering it's now the 5th.... you'll have been gone from this life for six years. I still remember that day. It had been about 14 and a half years since I'd last seen you... I went into work, and opened my email. Jenny had emailed asking if I'd gotten the email from Tanya to my home email address. So, I quickly checked that, and my heart stopped. I don't think it's truly ever started again since that day.

You were gone.

I know you were 24 at the time, but to me, you were (and are) still that little baby laying in my arms sleeping. You were (and are) still that silly little boy with the infectious laugh. You were (and still are) the one holding the candle when my world was dark and cold.

I miss you. I love you. And I'm sorry.