Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
Today I want to talk about something that I know impacts a lot of people- Depression. There are a lot of things that are overlooked in regards to depression symptoms. I also think it can be confusing to diagnose depression because it truly can look many different ways for different people.
I wanted to first talk about the misconception that in order to have depression, your life has to suck. I have seen many kids telling their parents that they're depressed and their parents rebutting that and saying, “Why are you depressed? You have a good life.” I understand that depression is commonly misunderstood, but the more educated we become on the topic, the better. Many times, people with depression don’t have motivation to do anything. This can be as simple as brushing their teeth or taking a shower. They can be super irritable and irrational seemingly out of nowhere. They may not get any sleep or they may sleep but it isn’t deep and they wake up feeling worse than before they went to sleep. They may isolate themselves from others and “shut the world out”. They may have a loss of pleasure from all activities. It can also be very hard to concentrate and they may then shame themselves for that. They could also just have aches and pains all over their bodies. They also can be fixated on morbidity and when they talk, they may sound very destitute and hopeless.
Depression isn’t something that can be “snapped out of” and it can take time to feel back to normal again. I know just how hard it can be when someone you love is struggling with depression. I also know how hard it is for the person struggling with depression because I too have been through it. When I feel myself starting to get those symptoms of depression, I do my best to try and elevate my mood even slightly. I notice that trying to catch it before plummeting into darkness is a good way to go about it. I try to put on some music that makes me happy or music that allows me to express my anger. I may take some time and do something I actually enjoy away from all the responsibilities that I have. However, it’s not always something that you can stop because it’s literally your brain chemicals. When I find that nothing I do is helping, the only other thing I can really do is communicate to my loved ones and friends. It’s not always easy and you can ask my friends and family- I haven't always been the best at this, but I do try to communicate this. It could be confusing and even hurtful to your support system when they feel like you’re shutting them out. Although you may not have control over your depression and how it makes you feel, you do have control over communication. I know that in the past, I didn’t fully like telling people when I felt this way for a couple of reasons. I didn’t want to be a burden, I didn’t always want advice, and I was just embarrassed. It’s usually an initial reaction to want to give advice to and help your loved ones but sometimes advice isn’t needed. Sometimes just an “I’m sorry you’re going through this and I am here to listen.” is all we need. There is also no reason to feel embarrassed by how your brain functions. Would you be embarrassed if you had a heart problem? Probably not… so why is it embarrassing when your brain has one? I also think people would rather you “burden” them with how you’re feeling than for them to have to be burdened with some of the horrible results of depression driving someone too far. I think you’re all picking up what I’m putting down.
When it comes to my own experience with depression, I tend to get symptoms in relation to hormones and I think a lot of women can understand this. When I feel depressed, I isolate myself and have no interest in anything. I notice that reading, watching tv, baking, working out, and working in general are not at all exciting to me. I feel like nothing is making me happy and it just feels right to stare off into space and do nothing. I tend to be a lot less productive and I feel like the positive and happy part of me is stowed away. People around me notice it and it is not a fun feeling.
Something I also wanted to remind you is to try and take notice of those around you and watch out for the signs. I always see those informational videos and infographics about when you think your friend is suicidal and although they are helpful, I just wanted to note some of the less obvious signs someone may display if they are suicidal.
We know the common ones: reckless activities, talking about death, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawal from friends and family, missing school/work, bad hygiene, giving away possessions, etc. Something I wanted to touch on has to do with what someone contemplating suicide may talk about. If you hear your friend saying things like:
-I just don’t ever feel happy anymore.
-I don’t even know what my future will look like.
- I hate my life.
-What’s the point of all this?
-I just feel like I’m giving up on everything.
-Please leave me alone.
-I just want this all to be over.
-The pain is never going to stop.
Friends- please check in on your loved ones, you never know what silent battle they may be fighting. Even just paying attention to your friend’s mannerisms and facial expressions can help save a life. If you are genuinely worried for a friend or family member’s safety, please get them help immediately. Please refer to our resource page on our website for more help.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.