Call it what you will, depression is something far more people cope with than you might realize.
This is a very real mental health problem that should neither be ignored, nor swept under the rug. Yet there are still many, many people who do not recognize or acknowledge the depth of the issue.
When you are dealing with depression it is a truly disconcerting experience. What’s more, every single person who copes with depression experiences it differently. That makes it a lot harder to understand, and means there is absolutely no single one-size-fits-all solution.
If you suffer from depression or think that you do, I want you to know that you are NOT alone. Depression is a sneaky liar, and one of its biggest untruths tends to be that you are utterly alone in the Universe.
What’s more, because depression can be totally nonsensical there is often a sense of shame that comes from the experience. At least, that’s how I have felt about it.
I am not afraid to admit to my battles with depression.
My depression experiences
When I was five my parents divorced. For obvious reasons, this triggered my depression.
That was in 1979. So I started seeing a psychologist. He did a very good job of examining my psyche and understanding my depression. I, on the other hand, did a wonderful job of telling him the emotions I was supposed to be feeling, but that I could not feel for myself (that realization came over two decades later).
Fast forward to my adulthood. On and off over the years I would contend with bouts of depression. When I feel depressed I get lazy, lethargic, and I have enjoyed eating for comfort. When I am depressed I feel very alone, like I have very little worth, and that I am constantly feeling this dread that everything I do is pointless and I get nothing right.
Unlike many others who cope with depression, I have never been suicidal. But the idea of hiding away somewhere and sparing the world from my direct presence, on the other hand, has crossed my mind.
Anyhow, years ago I began a regimen of Prozac. That took the edge off and made overall coping with depression a lot easier. I was much more able to find my center. I did this a couple of times, from six months to a couple years, over a decade and a half or so.
Currently, my depression is mostly kept in check with meditation, practicing mindfulness, and Pristiq, which I started taking after the course of Prozac I began in 2017 ceased to balance me any longer.
Kept in check, yes, but still sometimes present. I will still deal with bouts of extreme self-doubt, lack of self-worth, and fears of abandonment that can cause me to self-sabotage the work I do.
Perspective differs for everyone
These are my experiences with depression. Though they may be familiar to you if you also combat depression, they may also be utterly alien as well. Depression manifests differently for different people.
This is one of the problems, I believe, with both recognizing and treating depression. It has so many different faces, masks, and means that it can be confusing at best, infuriating and utterly illogical at worst.
Depression can manifest as anger, sadness, mania, frustration, fear, rage, uncertainty, and a bizarre mix of all of these and more. It not only differs for everyone, but it also can differ for you at various times. That makes it so very much more complicated.
I understand why some people become suicidal from depression. All of these conflicting emotions happening in your head, sometimes all at once, can by a wild cacophony that might even become painful. So much noise, so much conflict.
This is why it’s important to acknowledge depression, and how complicated battling it can be.
There is no shame in depression
This is probably the most important stigma to address. There is no shame in fighting depression.
First, you are totally, completely, and utterly not alone in this struggle. Depression tends to shame, belittle, berate, and work to disempower you.
For the record, yes, I do see depression as a living being in-and-of-itself. Depression has a mind of its own, and its intent is disruption.
Personifying it in this way, in my opinion, makes it easier to fight. Why? Because rather than fighting yourself, which is neigh impossible, fighting another person or entity is much easier to visualize.
Seeing yourself in combat with another entity, rather than yourself, makes it far easier to strike back.
Another part of the shame with depression comes from not knowing HOW to combat it. For starters, the thing that worked the one time may totally not work the next. This is part of why medications cease to be effective. Also, different things trigger depression, some more acute than others.
This is not a singular emotion. Depression is almost akin to another personality. It’s this strange, distressing, difficult to understand thing that can totally defy definition and explanation.
Ask for help
Because of the stigma attached to depression, as well as all of the complexities involved in experiencing it, asking for help can be really hard. No, I am not necessarily talking about professional help here. The people who love and care about you should be able to offer a hand when you need it.
And if they are incapable, there are many other options. There are helplines you can call, there are organizations you can reach out to. And you probably, as a reader of these types of articles, know many others who understand what this is like to one degree or another.
You are not alone. I will be more than happy to give you any of the tools I have used with mindfulness, conscious reality creation, and meditation practices, that I can. Or at the very least, an ear (or eye if via text communication) of understanding.
When you recognize that you really do not suffer depression completely and utterly alone, this can help you turn to other people when it strikes. You can find better ways to cope with and combat it. Depression is a lying liar, and you are capable, worthy, and deserving of defeating it when it comes on.
You are not at all alone. I see you, and I understand the war you are fighting with depression.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter.