Depression, by definition, is a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep. There are many different types of depression, and it is often stigmatized. It isn’t discussed openly and without judgment. To say that at some point in our lives, everyone experiences some form of depression would be fair. Life is unfair and hard. Sometimes it kicks us when we’re down, and it takes us a little bit to get back up.
Some people have an easier time breaking through depression. Some people are able to develop healthy coping mechanisms, get on medicine, or go to therapy. They are able to overcome that fight against their mind. But for some of us, we suffer from clinical depression. Clinical depression can be managed, but no one ever really talks about how hard it actually is to manage.
Every day I battle my brain. I battle the thoughts that my depression brings to the surface. Some days my brain wins and some days I win. On the days when my brain wins I don’t typically spend my time in bed with an unhealthy appetite. My depression is more of a high- functioning depression. My working constantly, some of my humor, my constantly pouring myself into others, and my “toughness” aren’t always what they seem. My coping mechanisms aren’t always healthy and I am becoming well aware of that and them. All of these mechanisms have been beneficial to me and got me through some of the darkest times in my life. I fought tooth and nail, I battled my body and my mind, and I overcame it all. I refuse to be ashamed of them, but I am working on healthier ways to cope.
But those days when my brain and the depression win, those days are hard. I have people who are here for me when I need to talk, but sometimes the idea of talking is easier said than done. Talking openly and freely about depression is hard. The fear of getting judged is always there or the fear of not being understood. The emotions that come with depression can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to explain it to someone else. Every time I talk about the days when my brain wins I can hear how ridiculous it all sounds, but yet I still believe what my mind feeds me.
Recently, my brain has been winning a lot. I can’t seem to communicate what it is I am feeling appropriately with anyone around me. I have always done better with writing things and emotions. Maybe because I was conditioned to always be strong and not show my emotions in front of those who care about me, because it was too hard. That’s why I hate crying in front of anyone. I feel weak and for me being weak or vulnerable wasn’t an option. I had to be resilient, but guess what? I am not as resilient as every one thinks. I haven’t written much of anything the last 14 months or so, and it’s because I haven’t felt my words were worthy or important enough. But I am going to write about my depression lately here, maybe just maybe it can help someone else.
When my depression gets bad, I isolate myself. I push everyone away. I don’t know how to tell them what is going on and I tend to think it is easier to deal with by myself. I keep myself busy because my mind is constantly racing. It races with thoughts of failure, body dysmorphia, sadness, and inadequacy. I feel a million miles away from everyone in my life. I feel like I am not good at anything, jack of all trades but master of none. I beat myself up for not being happy and feeling bad about myself. I view myself in a light that is so negative its embarrassing to tell anyone. I get uncomfortable in my own skin and dislike my body. I view every blemish, wrinkle, and any jiggle as something to be ashamed of. I hide my tears, cry silently alone in the shower or while I lay in bed thinking of all the things I have done wrong. I resent myself for living paycheck to paycheck and tell myself I bring nothing to the table. I fear resentment from my loved ones because I think they’re going to view me in the light I am viewing myself. I doubt myself and I hate my brain. I get angry at myself for not being able to win the fight against my brain. I feel lost and all the while I put on a brave face and continue to work and pour myself into others. I suffer in silence and feel hopeless. Depression makes you feel hopeless, unworthy, inadequate, ugly, and little. It is dark place and it is hard. Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like I could explode with sadness and anger.
I am in therapy and I am learning healthy ways to overcome my depression. Most days I win and my self talk is positive, but like many other things in life, I get in a rut. The only thing that usually helps when I am in a rut is making some drastic change in my life and let’s be honest that doesn’t always help in the long run. So this time I decided I was going to write about it. I was going to openly and freely discuss it.
I appreciate when friends reach out and tell me they’re there for me, I really do. However, it isn’t easy for me to talk. I tend to just cry because it all floods to the surface. It gets too overwhelming to talk and makes me feel worse. I never share these aspects of my life or mental health for sympathy. I share them to help others find the courage to talk about what is going on in their life, or to make sure someone doesn’t feel alone, or to help people understand what they don’t know. I may feel bad about myself a lot with my depression and tend to feel lost. But if I can help de-stigmatize mental health for others then I can be proud of something.