Depression is real. It hurts. Relationships are ruined. It ends lives.
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of depression. Depression is a mood disorder. It is the most common mental disorder in the country.
You. Are. NOT. Alone.
Depression is…Pain. Deep darkness. Unexplainable. Uncontrollable. Sadness. Anger. Regret. Grief. Crying. Screaming. Depression is never getting out of bed, never showering, never eating.
It is a prolonged feeling of sadness and loss of interest. When these symptoms persist for at least 2 weeks then a person is considered to be having a depressive episode.
Depression can be…The most pain ever felt. Exhausting. Incapacitating.
Depression is something that you can’t control and you can’t stop from happening. It comes on so quickly sometimes that you don’t even know what’s happening. It sweeps over your entire body paralyzing you in that deep, dark place.
Causes and Symptoms
It is caused by a combination of a person’s genetic makeup and their environmental conditions. No two people experience depression the same. It causes sadness, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, emptiness, guilt, irritability, frustration, anxiousness, loss of interest in daily activities or things that used to be enjoyable, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty thinking clearly and concentrating, restlessness, and appetite changes. In severe cases it can cause thoughts of death, suicide, and suicide attempts. Depression can cause headaches, stomach-aches, pain, and digestive issues.
Along with the typical symptoms depression can also manifest with some surprising symptoms. Changes in grooming habits, inability to make up your mind, daydreaming, doing things in excess, drinking too much alcohol, feeling nothing or “numbness”, having a short fuse, and weight gain are all also symptoms that you may be depressed.
I’ve been there. For 19 years I’ve been there. It gets worse, it gets better. But it never goes away, not for me. So many factors play into my depression, none of which can be controlled or made any better.
Over the years I have been to numerous counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. None have ever helped me. I have tried writing my feelings, talking about my feelings coping skills, and even medications. My depression is caused by so many factors that it truly will never go away. With work I can make myself feel better but deep down those feelings of depression are always there.
I have learned to cope with my depression. Journaling my thoughts and feelings helps tremendously just because I’m able to get those feelings out of me. Finding things that bring me joy and keep my mind occupied like reading great books, doing crafts, and spending time with my children have helped keep my depression at bay many times. But even when I’m at my happiest and I don’t have any concerns about my depression creeping back in, I know that at any moment something can set me off and send me back into a deep spiral of darkness.
It Isn’t Your Fault
Depression is not your fault. Being depressed is a medical condition and don’t ever think for one moment that it’s because of something you did or didn’t do. It’s not, so just stop. Depression can happen to anyone, even the strongest and happiest of people.
You are not alone.
Treatment and Recovery
The first steps to treating depression are taking care of your body with a healthy diet and regular sleep schedule. Exercise, journaling, therapy, and medications can also help to treat depression.
Recovering from depression is a journey. There will be bad days but with treatment it is possible to overcome the lows. There are no cures for mental disorders such as depression, but it is still entirely possible to live a happy and fulfilling life.
I am here with you, for you. There are so many here for you. Reach out. Call someone. Anyone. Ask for help. You can get better. Because you are not alone. Not in this.
Call 911 if you think you may hurt yourself or are contemplating suicide. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional for help. Reach out to friends and family for help. Call a minister, spiritual leader, or someone in your faith community. In the US there is a suicide hotline number, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-8255, press “1” for the Veterans Crisis Line.