Saturday, February 4, 2012

Depression - it sucks

  There are many things that some consider ‘off limits’ to talk about. One of those things being mental health, in particular - depression. So what do you think I’m going to do if it is supposed to be off limits? That’s right, today I’ll be talking about depression.
  For those who don’t suffer or never have suffered from depression it is a hard thing to understand. The hardest thing to understand is the difference between being unhappy and being depressed. Being unhappy or displeased about something is an emotion that can and will go away. Being depressed is a disease. When you are depressed, there are chemicals in your brain that are making you that way. It isn’t as easy as going and doing something that makes you happy to bring you out of a depression. The word depressed seems to be casually thrown about “I’m so depressed today” making depression sound like a thing that can simply come and go like any other emotion. Now, I can only give you one person’s experience with this topic but for me depression was never that easy to get rid of. If I was unhappy about a situation, I could be distracted or with time get over it. Depression consumes you. I don’t know if I’m explaining this correctly so let me try this way. If I’m upset over something maybe I feel like crying or being angry about it. Possibly yelling or writing to help vent about the situation. Possibly there is nothing I can do to help and for a while I am just upset but I continue with my day to day life. Things will eventually get better. I know that there is a silver lining to this gloomy cloud lurking over me. If I’m depressed, I’m lost. I simply do not care. Silver lining? Why does it even matter. Nothing matters. The simplest things seem to be the hardest to do. I’m more tired and I feel weak. I don’t want to eat or drink, what is the point any way? No I don’t want to open the blinds, no I don’t want to take a shower, no I don’t want to talk. I just do not care. It’s like being trapped in a black room with no windows or doors. Every thing, every thought is dark and horrible. There doesn’t seem to be hope of happiness or a better time. The smallest things make you break down and cry. You blame everything on yourself. Who else is there to blame? You are obviously the problem. No ice left in the freezer? It’s because you are stupid and couldn’t even remember to fill the tray, you are a horrible person, you don’t think about anyone but yourself. Didn’t take a shower today? Who cares! No one loves you or cares about you, you are unattractive and a horrible person.
  With a clear mind you can see that to even think these things seems ridiculous. How does forgetting to make ice make you the most selfish person in the world? It doesn’t, but it feels that way. Emotions are intensified and certainly not in a good way. Small things seem like the end of the world and even if you can grasp that you are taking things out of proportion there is nothing you can do about it. Your brain won’t let you think otherwise, you are trapped in this depression box for the time being.
When I was a teenager I suffered badly from depression. I was hospitalized many times for it. I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me to be happy, why I had to put a fake smile on to be around my friends, and why I didn’t seem to enjoy life as much as they did. Being a teenager is not easy and being a depressed teenager just plain sucks. I hoped that maybe it was just a teen thing and that I would grow out of this depression with age. Through different doctors I learned coping mechanisms to help me with my depression. Top three are writing (which I’ve always done), listening to music, and collaging. To this day I use all three. Collaging is always my last go to because it always seems to help. Even if I end up collaging for hours on end, it always puts my mind at ease for a while. Going in to college I decided not to take any depression medication and to collage my way through college. I convinced myself I wouldn’t be depressed and I wasn’t, for a few years. Sometimes life is just hard and gets the better of us. I started suffering from depression again a few years ago when my pain from Endometriosis got really bad. It’s difficult not being able to do things for yourself. Since then I’ve struggled on and off depression. I know this is a life long journey but I also know I’m not alone. I think that is the most important thing to (try to) understand when you are depressed. You are not alone. Whether it be the people in your life or support groups. There are people out there who care and are willing to listen. It takes time but you learn what helps and what doesn’t. I know, personally, I need to talk out my problems, I can’t keep them in. Every one is different and everyone has different ways to cope. Learning them is a process but one that needs to be done in order to help you beat or at the very least outlast the depression.
I hope I helped, a little, with you learning more about depression. Maybe with this you can understand someone a little more clearly or even understand yourself more clearly. This subject is hard to talk about but one that definitely shouldn’t be ignored. If you have any questions leave them below and if you choose to write your own story let me know and I’ll be sure to stop by and read it.

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  1. Depression is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. My mother has suffered from it for as long as I can remember. It was difficult for me to understand when I was younger why my mother wasn't "there for me". I hated that she was "selfish" when she was in a bad place. But when I got older and started studying psychology it started to make sense. I also realized that I too had depression/anxiety issues myself, I just dealt with them in a different way than her.
    I believe it's actually suicide prevention week here right now. Quebec has one of the highest rates of suicide in north america. Depression is talked about often here and is becoming more understood and far less taboo. I hope one day this will be the case everywhere.

  2. I think it's great you chose to write about your depression. You're right... So many people are afraid to talk about it, and even more don't know how to understand or ask about it so they CAN understand. I was diagnosed in 7th grade, and I've been off and on meds for years. Some times are better than others, but I've felt myself slipping a lot lately. On those days, it's hard to even get out of bed in the morning. I am wondering if my meds need to be adjusted, but I have to wait til my company sets up health insurance before I go back to the doctor to get it adjusted. I think the hardest thing for me to deal with IS the severity of my mood things. I feel bad because people around me don't understand why I'm so angry or sad, or whatever. Which, of course makes me feel worse about it and get angry with myself.

  3. Thanks for sharing. It's such a taboo subject, but there's so many people who are suffering from it and don't know how to deal.

    I've had my share of it as well and it is no walk in the park!