Depression can feel desperate and helpless with nothing providing any joy. It is very complex, affecting everyone differently.
Some people have a long lasting low mood that impacts every day life, that needs managing to feel able to do normal activities. For me, walking, writing, reading, catching up with friends, being with my kids, doing the things I enjoy can pull me around, it can lift my mood, it can get me through the day.
And for other people there is the severe all-consuming depression when it is possible to feel like you are trudging through thick mud, when it isn’t possible to think clearly or possible talk constructively. For me, I’m grateful that it doesn’t happen often but there is no turning this around, this has to be endured until it passes. This isn’t just about being in a low mood, this is an all-consuming muddy fog that can be both physically and emotionally painful.
We all know that the basics can help – moving, eating, breathing, water, nature – but sometimes nothing is going to shift it. Sometimes an episode of depression needs to run its course, it can be a sign of being too overwhelmed when we need to rest and recharge.
When I struggle with my depression…
- Interacting and engaging with other people – whether face-to-face, by text or email – can be challenging, if not impossible.
- Negative feelings takes over – worthlessness, failure, hopelessness, inadequacy, helpless, useless and pointless
- I have to force myself out of the house, which is where I feel safest
- There probably isn’t a trigger, it can just happen
- Most things feel like a chore
- Making decisions is almost impossible
- cooking can be the biggest challenge
depression is not as simple as snapping out of it
I have lived with depression for my entire life, certainly back to being a teenager. My depression is usually low level which means I can get on and do life but with much planning and persuasion.
As a life-long condition, it means I know it well, it’s unpleasantness can also be familiar when it consumes and now I know how best to ride it out, when I desperately want it to end.
The pandemic has been challenging and it has affected my mood but it has also given me the opportunity to reflect and to focus on how I do life, what I enjoy, what I want to do and where the barriers lie for me. Running a business when you have depression isn’t always easy – I can take on too much, I can overthink, I can burn out and I worry – alot – about failing. And now I have created a new practice which will hopefully provide me with more balance while working with parents in a better way.
Something that has come from my experience with depression, and from talking to other people who experience it – unless you have depression, you don’t truly understand it. It can be incredibly complex and very contradictory – most of the time I am very content, I love life, I want to explore and live, there’s so much I want to do but all of this requires a great deal of effort, which can be exhausting, and underneath all of that can lie a deep sadness which, seemingly, has no cause.
I am not on medication for my depression mainly because I don’t feel like I need it. I would take anti-depressants if I felt I needed it and I have in the past when I was struggling. It is such an individual thing and some people need the meds – the best thing for me has been to accept that depression is a huge part of who I am and that I needed to learn to manage it rather than try to cure it because that might not be possible.
or just cheering up
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, I am going to write a few things about what having depression is like, the comments that have been made to us and about us, as well as some of the misconceptions around depression.
“I can really struggle with motivation. I want to do things, I know what I need to do but I just can’t get going with it and then I give myself a hard time. It’s like there’s a hopeless what’s-the-point attitude going on in my head because nothing is going to change anyway.”
“It’s truly miserable. It sucks the enjoyment out of everything. When it’s bad, I can have no motivation to go out and see friends, to do anything I normally enjoy. I just want to sit inside and watch movies. Sometimes that is exactly right, other times I feel like I am punishing myself. I can’t seem to win.”
“Every day needs purpose, other wise I would want to just stay in bed. I make lists and notes to keep me on track.”
What’s your experience of depression?