Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
I recently put up a poll on our Love-Brain Instagram asking you all about what you wanted me to talk about! The majority of you said you wanted to know about how I handle depression and how it impacts me. For me, I sometimes don’t even know I am depressed until things start to get out of hand. It’s crazy how sometimes your body and certain parts of your brain know you’re sad, but the other part of your brain doesn’t pick up on it until the signs become obvious. Depression for me is often a battle that I fight a couple times throughout the month, usually for a couple of days. Depression is hard for me because I am a very busy, energetic, and driven person. And for all of you that know depression, you know it can be the literal opposite of that. I usually get depressed when something triggers me deeply. For example, friends not inviting me out, being disappointed by people I care about, or being too hard on myself.
One of the first things that happens when I have these flare ups is that I lose interest in the things I love. I personally enjoy working out, doing work, organizing, watching tv, or reading. When I feel depressed, I take days off from the gym, I dread working, my entire room becomes a mess, and my normal TV Shows don’t cut it for me. It feels like I am just lost in space and literally nothing makes me happy. I tend to have a bad issue of shutting people out when I am depressed and I didn’t even realize this until recently in counseling. I used to think it was just me being moody to the extremes but realized that wasn’t the case and that it was actually a symptom of depression. Shutting down sucks, but I don’t have much control over it. It can happen with friends, family, and my boyfriend. It can be a very lonely and dark place and unfortunately it also impacts the way people perceive me, and I can totally understand why. It can be confusing to other people when I shut down and it can have a heavy weight on my relationships. People may think that they did something wrong and most of the time, that isn’t the case. I also get incredibly irritable which also doesn’t bode well for how people perceive me. I know that people with disorders can be judged because of how that disorder impacts them. To an outsider, it can look as if I am rude, shy, or thinking I’m above others. However, in actuality, it’s an internal struggle that I am facing and trying to sort out. When you come across a certain way though, people judge and assume and it can be damaging to your character...which just totally fucking sucks if we’re being honest. It can also make you seem super moody, which also can make you unpleasant to be around. I have had people tell me that it can be hard to hangout when they never know which me they’re going to get. And honestly, in the past that may have hurt my feelings, but now I take that into account and have been working with my therapist on how to channel my emotions in a better way without affecting the people around me. It isn’t easy, and contrary to what some believe, you can’t just turn off depression or how it affects you. This is why I have focused more on the communication side of things until I feel like I can better handle the symptoms that come with depression.
I have worked with my therapist about being able to at least try and communicate to those around me how I am feeling. This can also be a challenge though because a couple different responses can come back your way. The first is that people try to give advice. And trust me, I know how incredibly kind it is that people want to help and make you feel better. However, sometimes that advice just isn’t good advice or is just coming from a place of support, when they don’t understand themselves. Once again, I always appreciate people trying, but sometimes advice isn’t what you need. I will also have people just try to cheer me up, which may help temporarily but then when I am alone again, it can go back to a dark hole. In my own experience, I have had the best luck with communicating how I feel and then just getting support. Sometimes, to lessen the impact your disorder has on how you treat people, you have to just let them know you’re facing a hard time and trying to get through it. And sometimes, the best response when trying to help someone feeling this way is just making sure they know their loved, that they have a rightful place on earth, and literally just saying,
“ I may not know the best way to help right now, but know you are welcome to come talk to me at any point and I will always be here to support you.”
I am telling you that if you struggle with shutting people out, it’s best to just let them know why you’re shutting them out and that you’re working on it. This will help to lessen drama and issues in the future.
Also, when I am depressed, I can sometimes try to find something to help aid that emptiness. This is when a lot of people unfortunately turn to vices and addictions. I am thankful I have never had to battle that. The only thing that I sometimes do is binge. I have talked about binging before and it is most definitely not pleasant and has a damaging effect on the brain and body. However, through counseling, I have been learning to try and place that energy somewhere else to help get me out of the depressed feeling. And sometimes, depression can just take time to work it’s way out of your system. There is no magic wand and that is why depression can be so difficult. It can feel absolutely horrible to lose interest in everything in your life and disassociate. However, with time, you can learn to manage depression.
I can dig deeper into depression in another post but I wanted to just give you guys the gist of how depression affects me personally.
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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