Mental illness (depression) can be difficult to explain. However, we shouldn’t ignore mental illness but understand it as we do for other diseases like cancer. For you to understand depression easier, I’ll illustrate it with the Big Black Bunny. The Big Black Bunny (depression) had always been with Evan like a pet rabbit. It would occasionally grow bigger when Evan felt emotionally and mentally burdened by its weight.
It was not known when exactly did Evan started to have depression, but it started even before he got married with Lisa. Lisa discussed with her husband Evan about depression, and tried to understand when the Big Black Bunny started to come into his life – and Evan shared with her about his past.
A Little Bit About Evan
Evan had a decent childhood just like other kids. However, when he was a teenager, his parent’s relationship turned sour. They argued, fought, and even hit each other in front of him. Evan tried to stop them, but soon he found himself feeling helpless as his parents began to let it out on Evan, too.
On the day he turned 17, his parents tried to come together to celebrate his birthday – but the celebration ended with his mom demanding a divorce.
Evan wanted to escape from this reality. He then found comfort in getting closer to his friends. One of his best friends, Rashid, decided to join the military after graduating from high school. “Being patriotic to our country is constantly being self-aware about our personal identities,” once said Rashid to Evan, who was curious about Rashid’s decision to join the military.
For the undefeatable “brotherhood”, Evan decided to join the military as well, believing in Rashid’s values. Besides, he also admired the armies’ patriotic spirits and their cool uniforms. “Lisa, I hope I knew by then what I’ve signed up for,” Evan told Lisa as he was telling her his story.
How Evan Met The Big Black Bunny
Throughout his military training and experiences, he had experienced pain in losing his great companions and best comrades. He had lost Rashid, too.
From then on, Evan lost faith in himself. He chose this path to serve our country, yet he regretted it most of the time, and soon he blamed himself for his choices. He was devastated. He decided to come back home, but soon he found it hard to cope with a normal life.
However, his hobby to design toy cars led to big toy-producing companies having high interests in (and paid for) his works, but he always felt unfulfilled in life. To him, nothing was ever like those tough daily practices when he was part of the military.
Evan wasn’t aware that the Big Black Bunny had already appeared in his life. He began to feel more emotional over little things. He cried to himself before sleep. He ate less. He stopped doing what he liked to do, and felt upset for more than 2 months, continuously.
Evan’s relatives and friends begun to know of Evan’s condition. His friends started to draw away from him, while some who didn’t know him well, spread rumours and bully him. Evan then began to isolate himself even more.
Are You Feeling Sad, or Depressed?
Lisa shared with Romeo and me about Evan’s past because she wanted us to be aware of her husband’s condition, and to help support him mentally and emotionally. She told us that it’s great she knew that it wasn’t just sadness that Evan faced when they’ve just started dating – which led her to find out that he was, in fact, suffering from depression, and seeked professional help. If not, it may be worse for Evan to deal with the Big Black Bunny alone, without noticing its presence.
Feeling sad is normal. Sometimes, shedding some tears can be healthy for our mental well-being. But finding ourselves sinking into the black hole of negativities, regardless if we let ourselves go or it just happens to us, makes us less motivated to realise our purpose in life. I believe it’s indeed important to understand the differences between feeling sad or upset, compared to suffering from depression. Although these may not be proven for you without getting professional guidance and advice, I believe you can find out by answering these questions to see if your loved ones, friends, or yourself need to seek for a greater comfort from your emotional pain.
11 Questions You May Ask to Understand if You're Depressed
- Do you feel empty, or hopeless?
- Do you find yourself losing interest in your hobbies, or that you don’t enjoy your usual activities that much?
- Do you experience a change in your appetite? Do you find yourself experiencing a drastic weight loss or weight gain?
- Do you feel tired, exhausted or fatigued easily (lack of energy)?
- Do you find it hard to sleep at night (or sleep too much)?
- Do you feel irritated easily and getting more impatient?
- Do you find yourself reacting quicker to anger, and takes you longer to bounce back?
- Do you feel worthlessness or guilt?
- Do you find yourself having difficulties in thinking, concentrating and making decisions?
- Do you find yourself feeling blues occasionally out of a sudden?
- Do you feel that you would be better off dead or of harming yourself in some way?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to 5 or more questions above – and you’ve experience them for nearly every day for at least 2 weeks, besides having the symptoms severe enough to interfere with your daily activities – you may have a major depression, instead of just sadness.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a depressed person has “moods” that “the mood in a major depressive episode is often described by the person as depressed, sad, hopeless, or discouraged”. For Lisa and I, we saw that as the Big Black Bunny grew bigger and took control over Evan. It shaded him as he stayed under the Big Black Bunny’s shadow. In some cases when the Big Black Bunny grew bigger, it will sit over Evan, and Evan felt all too overwhelmed and couldn’t handle anymore.
No one will know what Evan had been through except the ones closest to him – his dearest wife, Lisa. After he met Lisa, his life changed, and he had a more positive outlook in life. Lisa accepted him for who he was and is today, and eventually supports him in everything he does. Not only that, Lisa boosted his courage and self-confidence to seek help from the professionals, and he found the answer to all his emotional roller coasters, as well as getting a consultation to help him cope with suppressing the Big Black Bunny from growing bigger. For Evan, he felt so much better with the love and support from Lisa.
Since then, Evan placed his focus into his career as a graphic designer, as well as his dearest wife and now their baby daughter, Lemon. However, there are bad times when the Big Black Bunny would grow bigger again, and Evan would stay under the Big Black Bunny’s shadow. But it is now so much better, as he would channel some of the “darkness” into his designs, and turn them into creativity.
Don’t be afraid of the “dark”, my friends
For you or your loved ones, if you’d like to be saved from having the Big Black Bunny tagging on you, don’t forget, you can always look for these proper channels to help you through finding your answers in life. Although I may not be able to give you your best solutions, I’ll always be here to listen to you, and to give you comfort in times of need. Juliet is always here for you!
What makes you happy? Is it your pets, your hobbies, or your job? How do these things make you happy? Do share with me in the Comment section below! I’m hoping to see Evan smile as he reads through your lovely comments!
Juliet’s Reminder: Without sadness, there would be no depression. Although sadness is a common emotion that we would naturally feel, we should try to avoid letting our sadness to take over us completely, eating ourselves from the inside. If you find that your loved ones may have depression, let’s remember that depression is, in fact, a mental illness, not a sign of weakness or a defect of their characters. We could all do our very best to give them our greatest love and best support!