Hokay so instead of rambling in assorted comments I figured it was easier (and neater) to just make a new entry. Which of course you can comment on! I appreciate the debate, even though I might not agree. So, another rambly novel for your (dis?)pleasure:
I fully acknowledge that the author of the blog that spawned such ire with me didn't mean to come down on clinically depressed people. Probably he thought he was offering sane advice, and being generally helpful. I don't assume there was any spite behind it. However, that doesn't make me any less pissed about what I perceive as misconceptions concerning depression. The way I define depression (and I'm not a professional so this is just my point of view) is by using time as a factor. As I mentioned in my previous entry, everyone can feel sad, glum, disheartened, disappointed, hopeless, uninspired, lethargic, morose and a plethora of other negative emotions, which are also symptoms of depression. MY peeve is with people who use the term "depression" whenever they feel down one day. Depression is a state of lasting feelings of hopelessness and sadness, or a state of intense fluctuation between moods (also called mania). This is a fairly general definition and I acknowledge that there are nuances and personal anamolies so that this doesn't apply to everyone, but MOSTLY, I think it can be applied.
If you feel dejected for a day or two, or a week, I would not call that depression. If it lasts for longer and you can't seem to shake it, or if you're experiencing moodswings that are fairly random and/or quite severe, then you might want to start considering you're depressed. As I also mentioned in the last entry, I know many of you will see this as simply being anal or arguing semantics but it is actually a very important distinction, or at least it is to me.
Because I've been feeling depressed for the better part of my adult life. Occasionally there is a day or two where I feel alright, or even content, but then we're back to square one. There are some nuts and bolt inside my head that are screwed very very tightly the wrong way and have rusted stuck that way over time. That's not to say the rust can't be scraped off and new nuts and new bolts be screwed on the RIGHT way once we eventually get the faulty ones off - but it's not something I'm in easy control of anymore. There was probably a time where I was, but this is so ingrained in my thought pattern now that I don't even notice it half the time. And when I do, it drives me crazy.
There is nothing worse than being entirely aware of the fact that you're making life miserable for yourself, but having little to no say in how to stop it. That realization is lined with such a profound feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that it's hard to describe. For about a year and a half now, I've been consciously aware that something is very wrong inside of me. A year ago I started therapy (which I unfortunately had to quit because I moved to another city and now I'm terrified of getting a therapist I will hate because I loved my old one so much) and it made me even more aware of my condition. During this period it has been very difficult to accept that there are some things I just cannot do or cope with, because I have a condition. My therapist tried hard to make me realize how unrealistic my demands toward myself are and how I push and punish myself too hard when my energy or my focus just won't be sustained. And just because I'm more aware of what's wrong doesn't make me much more equipped to change it. It's like there's a thick wall. I can see the wall, I know what it's made up of, and that it needs to be torn down. I have the tools laid out in front of me with which I can tear it down, but I don't know how to use them. I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is. And I strongly suspect I'm not alone in this boat.
Because of all this struggling to accept that saying "I am depressed" is okay, it infuriates me when people label depression as self-indulgence. Undoubtedly there are people who do wrap themselves comfortably up in their fear, insecurity and helplessness and use -that- as a tool to get through life with least amount of effort. I know of such individuals myself. But to make such a general claim is disrespectful and ignorant. More often than not I opt not to speak to people about how I feel because I expect that they will think I'm self-absorbed and self-pitying. Those fears might have something to do with the condition as well but it's not a pleasant feeling all the same. And therefore I think everyone should try to be a little more careful about the words they choose.
And as was mentioned in the comments, I know I'm very difficult and I appreciate that it's often frustrating to deal with me. It's gotten to the point that, when I make new acquaintences (usually online - I'm even more reclusive IRL. Feast on that), I warn them if I start to notice that they want to get more involved (i.e deeper friendships etc). Because I realize that eventually, they'll grow too frustrated and tired of it. If I could take a break from myself, I'd jump to the opportunity at once. I don't blame anyone for feeling stumped in my presence. But I can't help that it still hurts.
*Glances up at all the words* Right. Um, well. The point of this post was to specify how I view depression, and I why I think it's disrespectful to not only label it as something selfish and imply it's a condition we're in full control over, but also to just toss the word around with little care to the "true" meaning of it.