Thursday, July 7, 2016

What My Depression Feels Like

I have had depression for several years now. I do my best to keep it in check with prescribed medication, practicing self-care, and being honest about my mental health with myself and others.

Still, every once in a while I'll have a few bad weeks where I struggle with my depression. I was having one of those times last month. When these times come up I first just accept that that's how I'm feeling and wait to see if it's just a bad day or two. If it lasts longer, it gets a bit more confusing as to what to do - or at least to me. I try to combat it though with self-care and pushing myself to do things that I know are good for my well-being. 

Depression can be so hard to explain to others. I know my mom is constantly asking me why I'm not being my normal self and asking what's wrong, but I just can't quite put it into words - and I also don't know how to say it without upsetting her or hearing every person with depression's least favorite words "you don't have anything to be depressed about." So I thought I would outline a bit of what my depression feels like, and share it here.

What My Depression Feels Like

My depression just zapped me of any interest I may have. While normally I'm a pretty motivated person who likes to be doing something, when I'm having a bad time with my depression I really can't be bothered. I could lay in bed all day and not feel like I missed out on much. I have to force myself to get up and go visit with my family, do chores, and go out. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that nothing captures my interest.  Nothing seems too funny or exciting or scary. 

When I'm my usual self, I'd consider myself pretty expressive. I'm usually a pretty happy person who laughs and smiles a lot, shares her sense of humor, and talks a fair amount with people she knows. With depression I'm super quiet - I feel like I have nothing to say, nothing to add to the conversation. I'm straight faced nearly all the time and my smiles feel forced. I also find myself snapping at people way too often and getting frustrated way too easily.

And it is frustrating. It's frustrating to not feel like yourself. It's frustrating when you really can't explain why you feel this way - you just do.

My depression makes me feel like I have no energy. It's not that I'm tired and just need to take a nap. No matter how much I sleep I feel like I have no energy, no energy to go out and have fun, no energy to do the simple things that life requires.

Since I don't feel like myself and I have no energy, it's really easy to shut myself off from the world. I don't have the energy to call up my friend, let alone to call her up and ask if she wants to go out to dinner. Plus if I did, I would feel so bleh that I wouldn't have anything to talk about or add to the conversation.

With all of this going on, it's easy to start doubting yourself and start having negative thoughts about yourself. When I'm my normal self I can combat these moments of self-doubt and negative self-talk, but when I'm depressed it is a thousand times harder. It becomes so much easier to doubt my worth and purpose. It becomes easier to believe these negative thoughts too, which could be the most dangerous part of depression.

There really isn't an event that caused this to happen. I didn't get any bad news or have anything bad happen to me or someone I care about. I pretty much just woke up one day, and didn't feel good. And that feeling, a rather numbing feeling that rids me of any interest, liveliness, and happiness, stuck.

It's honestly scary to put this out onto the internet, but I'm hoping that by sharing this it helps others who have depression or another mental health condition and help their friends and family better understand what they're going through. Please keep in mind though that this is just my experience. Depression isn't the same for every person. Other people may have depression that manifests itself in different ways and may choose to care for their mental health in different ways as well.

I'd also just like to say that I am feeling back to my normal self at the moment and am continuing to manage my depression and practice self-care so please do not worry!