It has been on my mind quite a bit of late.
I have been talking to fellow sufferers, although I do hate that word, sufferer.
Whether you are deep in the midst of a depressive episode, or have come out the other side, I believe we are depression survivors, not sufferers.
Don’t get me wrong, when depression hits us, we do suffer.
It is a shockingly painful and debilitating illness.
It is not a matter of simply pulling oneself together.
It is not a matter of simply being sad.
I can only speak of my experience, and perhaps others people’s are very different, but for me it was a dark, confusing time, where the act of making myself get up and get dressed felt like too difficult a task some days.
I used to describe it as brain fog.
Fellow women readers, think the world’s worst case of PMS you can imagine, multiply it tenfold, then keep multiplying for about an hour or so… now you are beginning to get close.
Making decisions was overwhelming.
I remember struggling not to cry in a supermarket because I couldn’t even remember why I was there.
The physical symptoms are often underappreciated by people who have never been there.
Fatigue is not a powerful enough word to describe the incapacitating weakness and lack of energy that accompanies depression.
I felt like I was lugging a massive weight around with me.
I felt aches in my body, physical pain in my chest.
Literally the weight of the world on my tense shoulders.
In addition to feeling exhausted, I was restless and agitated, which in itself is exhausting.
I spent everyday feeling useless, inadequate and worthless.
The sheer lack of hope was excruciating. I simply could not see how life could ever improve.
I would feel anxious about leaving the house, having to ‘deal’ with people so it was easier to avoiding other people
I said hateful things to myself, things I would never dream of saying to anyone else.
I was constantly blaming myself for everything that had ever gone wrong.
Constantly feeling guilty… and then I would look objectively at my life and think, “Who the hell am I to feel so miserable? Other people have it worse than me…”
And the guilt would kick in.
I simply could not see that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t homeless, on the street or starving.
I could not see that I was, in fact, sick.
The self-harming behavior was very, well… self-destructive! Obviously! But strangely comforting. If you haven’t been there, it is incredibly difficult to explain.
The classic, most obvious symptom of depression people always think of is suicide ideation.
I clearly remember walking into town, looking at the busy traffic and thinking how fucking easy it would be to just walk into it.
When the car skidded on ice, rather than panic, I felt a somewhat detached sense of relief, “Finally! It’s going to be over!”
I understand now that what I really wanted was not necessarily to die, but rather, to simply not be here anymore, to not feel any more pain.
But friends, I came out of it!
If you are feeling some of the feelings I described above on a regular basis, please understand you do not have to continue to feel so awful.
There is help out there.
Talk to someone you trust.
If you cannot do that, call a helpline or visit your doctor.
I understand the stigma. I only told my own sister relatively recently that I take my medication and she was blown away. She had never suspected a thing.
Us depressives can be the best fucking actors you will ever meet!
On a side note… that is another point, you could be living close to or with a person who is depressed and not have a clue. So many people hide it and yes, they do suffer, in silence.
It came to a point where I was becoming seriously, physically, ill from my depression and anxiety and the self destructive, self-harming behavior was taking over.
It was on the drive home from what was meant to be a romantic getaway, that had been practically ruined by my self-loathing behavior, I asked the OH to pull over the car and I called my doctor.
I will never forget the sense of shame I felt telling my doctor that I had been living a complete lie throughout my teenage and my adult life.
I felt I was a failure. I should have been able to cope and I had not been.
I had been raised to believe strength was the most important attribute a person could have. Weakness was not tolerated or encouraged.
But readers, take note of this one thing please, if nothing else that I shared here today stays with you, let this be the one thing…
Accepting we are vulnerable, that we need help, and asking for that help is the strongest thing you will ever do.
I still have bad days, like everyone else and I still struggle with issue around self-esteem and destructive behaviours… bigtime!
But on the whole, I am happy. Certainly happier than before.
When my meds started to work, it was as if a curtain had been lifted from the world.
I saw colours more clearly, it was like someone had just turned the lights on.
Now I laugh, I sing, I dance, a lot!
And I plucked up the courage to start my three blogs.
The courage to finally be me, all of me.
The courage to share me with the world.
And get your head around this… people liked me!
Please, if you are feeling bad, please know you are not alone.
You might feel it, but you are not.
Please reach out for help. You will be amazed at how good people can be!
Please be a survivor!
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this. I sincerely hope it helps someone today.
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