Depression: Do You Mean It When You Ask “How Are You?”

mask-1027228_640I have a confession……

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     I suffer from depression.  Big deal, huh?  14.8 million American adults suffer from some sort of depression.  The problem is they often suffer in silence.

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     As an introvert, I observe a lot and one thing I have observed is how introverts and extroverts handle things.  I have a friend who is an extrovert and she would be vocal about how she was feeling and everyone would roll their eyes and say, “There she goes again.”  I might have even done that until I understood what was actually going on and why she was being so vocal about it.

     The thing is, that is exactly why introverts are afraid to admit a problem.  They are afraid of that same reaction.  They are afraid no one will listen and no one cares…. and so they suffer….. in lonely silence.

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     I have a question for you. When you meet someone on the street or in a store…. or even in church, when you say “How are you?”, do you really want to know?  Or is it just a passing greeting?  It is very easy to answer them with a smile and say, “Fine, how are you?”

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The problem is no one is really communicating!

 …..And the depressed introvert comes away with the feeling that no one really cares.

     I am not saying that you should delve into deep conversation right then and there, but a follow-up phone call or visit would go a long way.

     And how does one know there is more to it than, “Fine. How are you?”  The eyes will tell you.  They say eyes are the window to the soul.  So true!  If you look at Robin William‘s photos, take a good look at his eyes.

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Even when he was making everyone laugh with his goofy actions, his eyes were giving away how he really felt inside.

     I think Robin felt the same way I do.  In a world of Gloomy Gus’s, I would rather make someone laugh and bring a little joy even for a moment.  My friends call me the Pun Queen and a few were surprised when I revealed I was being treated for depression.

     When I was first diagnosed with depression, I actually did not think I had it. I felt down and sad at times and very insecure, but, hey, I couldn’t be depressed….. could I?  Unfortunately the person who screened me said I scored as severely depressed and recommended I see my doctor.  In retrospect, I can see the signs but, at the time, I was blinded to these facts.

     Recently someone close made a comment that basically I couldn’t make it as a blogger.  That and another factor sent me spiraling.  I don’t understand why people can be so cruel and this person still does not understand the depth of pain they have inflicted.

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     And for me, part of my brain knows God created me special like He did everyone else, but another part has trouble believing it.  That is because clinical depression is an actual illness like the flu or cancer.

     When you meet someone at church or on the street, don’t just absentmindedly rattle off, “How are you?”  Look at their eyes.  Touch them lightly on the shoulder or arm.  Make an appointment to catch up….and keep it!  You never know how much of a difference that could make to someone.

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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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11 thoughts on “Depression: Do You Mean It When You Ask “How Are You?”

  1. Aw, thanks for sharing some like this! Sending positive prayers and thoughts. My sister suffers from depression and she’s also an introvert so I always find ways to just find out what she’s feeling/thinking because I know she would give the simple “I’m fine” answer. I hope people become more conscious of those who are afraid to speak!

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  2. You’re right that no one talks about it and as Christians, I think that’s where we have failed but it can change with us! I have struggled on and off with depression but mainly anxiety and I really believe that God wants to heal us but part of that is being open and willing and being open with other people just like you are!

    Like

  3. Pingback: 8 Ways To Help Your Spouse Through Depression | A Tattoo On His Palm

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  5. Hi Denise,

    Your article touches me deeply. I have felt the same ways many times when people ask, “How are you?”
    or “How are you doing?” and just walk away.

    In fact, I am very troubled by such everyday situation that I made a short animation talking about it.

    I hope someone out there can connect with the animation.

    Like

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