I have had Depression (it’s a big deal, so I capitalize it) since I was about 14. It was at that age I started self-harming, started retreating into my own head, withdrew from family and everybody, and had several crises. Two years later, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which, contrary to popular belief, is not just something that means I like my house to be clean. Take this perfect combination of sadness and madness, and throw in a little PTSD from a chaotic childhood, and it leads to me struggling more than I’d like to admit, which is not at all. But, since I do struggle, and am currently, I thought it best to share and relate to other folks who go through – or are going through – the same things. Here are 5 things you can relate to if you’ve been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (aka Depression).
- You want to hang out and talk to your friends, but you just can’t gather the energy.
This one really sucks, especially if you are like myself and get energy from being around people, but cannot find the energy to be around people. Yes, it’s a horrible conundrum. It often feels like you are watching life go by from behind a screen, and if only you had enough serotonin, you could join in. But, alas.
- Finding the right therapist fucking sucks.
I had a therapist for a year and a half that referred to me as a “homosexual,” which, while technically true, is not really comforting. I kept seeing her because she was good enough and because FINDING A GOOD THERAPIST KILLS YOUR SOUL. You call and leave a message and no one returns it. You send email after email only to get therapists saying they are not accepting clients. It takes time and energy that we often do not have. If you are looking for one, however, check out psychologytoday.com and ask folks you know for recommendations. Even consider asking a trusted loved one to research therapists for you and send you a list of well-reviewed ones in your area.
- Showering two or three times a week is a win.
When the organization I worked for mentioned something about my hair being “not done enough” and my shirt not being ironed, I knew it was time to drop them. Depression isn’t a joke. And sometimes you can’t take care of yourself. You do the best you can, bb.
- You sometimes feel you are doing better and ‘coming out of it’ and you don’t realize that you are about to crash again.
I’ve found this to be true for a lot of folks I know: we see the sunset and think, “Wow, life is beautiful. Maybe I won’t jump off a building” and the next day we are in the fetal position on the couch questioning why we were born. You know what I say, though? Enjoy it while it lasts. If you are happy, even for a second, enjoy it to its fullest.
- Zombies aren’t always the undead, sometimes they are fully alive and walking among us.
Finding the right anti-depressant can be a beach. Even if you do find one that helps you get out of bed, do some dishes, and go to your job the vast majority of the time, you might be on autopilot every waking moment. If you haven’t experienced this, you may not understand what I am saying at all, so here’s an analogy. Imagine you are a tiny robot that is controlling a body with buttons and pull strings from a human-like skull-ship. This is what disassociation is: a feeling of disconnect from your body, like you are viewing your life from the third person. It’s a common side effect of antidepressants, and to be honest, it sucks.
Depression is a difficult disease to live with and a difficult one to talk about. I’ve found in my (nearly!) 30 years that people who don’t have mental illness often cannot understand what those of us who do are going through. So let’s talk to each other.
What did I get so right? What did I forget? Send me a comment and let’s talk.