Recently someone asked me to write a post on what I felt depression was like. Funny thing, I had just read a post over at Bipolar BarbieQ that included that very thing, I think everyone could get a lot from her post I’m the Queen of Run-on’s it is an honest gut wrenching post and I wish all of you would read it. (yes this is the second time I’ve shared this post, I really like it.) She also had this really cool graph in her post, so I’m going to steal it.
Most people think that Depression means you are Sad. Even Webster’s Thesaurus will say that Depression and Sadness are synonyms. Well yeah, you are sad when you are depressed, but there is so much more, so very much more.
When someone says they are depressed, that means they are sad, when someone says they have depression, this is a mental illness. When you look up the definition of Depression you get both answers, “(1) : a state of feeling sad : (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
I think feelings of Depression can vary from person to person. Profound Depression is all-consuming. You don’t just feel sad, it consumes you. You have difficulty doing anything else because your feelings are so torn up. It spirals down to the depths of your soul and you are trying your best to claw your way out. Depression can also have states of severe anxiety mixed in, feelings of paranoia, feelings of suicide. When you are just sad, you don’t have all of these other emotions consuming you. With depression you often just feel numb most of the time. Nothing can bring you out of that darkness. You find joy in absolutely nothing.
The definition above mentions “difficulty in thinking and concentration”…yes we can click that off my list. “A significant increase or decrease in appetite”…oh I eat, I want comfort food, or anything that might make it in my mouth sometimes. I’ve actually envied people who lose their appetite when they are depressed. “Time spent sleeping”…now this one is tricky. Sometimes I sleep a lot, sometimes I can’t sleep at all. Normally, I have a very hard time sleeping when I’m very depressed. “Feelings of dejection and hopelessness” YES! That is the overwhelming feeling that I have, HOPELESSNESS. “Sometimes suicidal tendencies”..this depends on just how deep my depression gets. Normally I am not suicidal but I’ll wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’m just so tired and hopeless, I don’t want to have to deal with it anymore.
Something they don’t mention, I cry, a lot. I’m an emotional person anyway, but when I’m depressed I cry every day, many times a day. Not just a few tears, I sob.
There are other feelings that get all mixed up when I feel depressed. I feel very guilty. What right to I have to feel depressed when there are so many tragedies in the world? What am I putting my husband and friends through when I’m like this? Why does it keep coming back, it must be me?
I get angry. Angry at me, angry at everything. I try not to speak to people because the thoughts in my mind are so snide. Why can’t they get it? Why can’t they do things the way they should? Yes, in my mind everything needs to go the way I think it should, then I’d be happier. I want to control, everything. I think that’s because I feel so out of control. I lash out. Some of this must be someone else’s fault, if I can find out who then I will have to feel better. I feel so alone. I try to isolate myself from other people so I won’t hurt them, even though being alone is the worst thing I could do. I never said I was being logical.
When depression takes hold of me I used to believe it would never end. Now I know it will and that helps me get through it. It makes me seek help. I keep telling myself, “This will end. This will end.”
I do not just have Clinical Depression, I have Bipolar I disorder. That means that, unless I’m stable, I will have severe manic states and depressive states. As I said, I used to think when I was depressed that nothing could pull me out of it, but then I’d be okay for a while and couldn’t believe I ever thought that way. Then I’d go manic and think that nothing could harm me. After a manic swing, I couldn’t believe I ever felt that way. I’m lucky that I’ve been mostly stable for a long time now. I will have break through depression sometimes and need my medication adjusted. My new psychiatrist told me that often when people get older they have fewer manic swings but battle depression more. That’s why he prescribed a drug that is for Bipolar Depression, and it seems to be working well.
If you are having any symptoms of depression please seek out professional help. It doesn’t just go away. Psych Central lists the first steps to getting help, and a list of professionals in your area. You can find this information here. Where To Get Help For Depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts please call
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255