Low self-worth and depression go hand in hand. One can cause the other. The other can lead to the one. They tend to help each other propagate in someone’s mind. If you have the belief that you’re not worthwhile to people, that you’re just going to hurt them, that you’re useless, depression can set in and tell you that the world is awful and nothing will ever get better. Which leads to “why can’t I fix this? Because I’m awful.” You see the spiral.
Vice versa, too. The lack of energy and motivation caused by depression can lead to, “I’m such a waste of space. I should be able to do things, but I’m so terrible that I can’t even get myself out of bed when I don’t HAVE to.” Which then leads to more thoughts about how it will never get better, and everything is terrible.
I know that’s how it worked for Ian. I know he thought he just hurt everyone, and was just faking his successes, and that people just didn’t realize how terrible he was deep down. Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” was one of his self-proclaimed theme songs. I don’t know where things like this come from. I don’t know what makes one person secure in their self-worth, and another completely insecure in it. I don’t think anyone does. Maybe some people are just more fragile in that way. The one unkind word from a kid on the playground can start a little tear in the fabric, and then everything slightly similar from then on lengthens it. Maybe it’s intrinsic, and just a part of hard-wired personality and genetics.
Same with depression. What makes one person suffer from deep, debilitating depression, when another doesn’t at all, and can’t even comprehend it?
Me, I have mild depression. It’s called Disthymia – constant and mild. Untreated, I still function. I still do things. I still act mostly normally. But I don’t have interest in things I would normally love. I have less energy. I’ve realized recently that untreated, I get mild to moderate insomnia with it, which is interesting. Treated, I’m pretty much normal. I take a low dose of a mild anti-depressant twice a day. This, I believe, will be constant through the rest of my life. I don’t imagine that whatever chemical imbalance makes me this way will magically disappear. (Unless they figure out why and make a cure, of course.)
As for self-worth? I’ve never had a problem there. I don’t know why. I got teased as a kid, just like everyone else (far less than some I know, and far more than others). I had a single parent, which is something that usually people will say leads to self esteem issues. I’ve never wondered whether I was worth someone’s time, or thought I wasn’t. (Whether I trust them to realize that and remember it is another issue…) It makes no sense that I’m just sure that I’m worthwhile, while other people aren’t. It makes no sense that some people don’t have any glimmer of depression while I have this constant mild low going on. It just doesn’t make sense.
This is why I want so badly for science to look at these things. For scientists to figure it out! What causes these chemical imbalances? What does your brain do when you have low self-worth, as opposed to not? What is going on here?
I hope they manage it eventually. The sooner the better. It’s too late for Ian, and countless others. But we can still save people.
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