“Snap out of it,” the people around you say. So how do you just make depression disappear? Well, I have been suffering with depression for years now and I have yet to find a way. If anyone does know, please share with all of us. The truth is that no one quite understands depression until they have been through it firsthand.
What is it that others around us do not understand? Just because someone looks fine on the outside does not mean they are not hurting inside. Has anyone noticed that I usually appear kind of gloomy, that I am not very talkative, and that I often withdraw from crowds and just being around people? These negative thoughts that fill my mind, wishing I were anywhere but here, do not just go away. “Why not?” You just had to ask. Because depression sucks!
Believe me, no one going through depression chooses to feel the way they do. Imagine going through a day of work, feeling stuck in a dead end job, and the same routine everyday gets old really fast. Then to top it off, the net pay is not even enough to pay the bills, or just barely. When home from work, you’re thinking about how you are going to survive to the next paycheck. You’ve cut down expenses, but no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead. No one else seems to be hiring for even some part-time income and you can’t move up at your current employer. There’s no money for much else, except for necessities, and counting every penny. It’s a constant worry. No wonder you are sleeping until the late afternoon on weekends and overeating.
You certainly feel alone, but please know that you are not. According to the World Health Organization, depression affects more than 300 million people of all ages and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. While there is no cure for depression, it is very treatable and you can live a normal life. Recognizing that something just seems off is the first step.
You might feel like no one wants to be around you because you’re the Debbie Downer of the group and it’s hard to strike up a conversation. However, having a good support system is a major help that will see you through some tough times. It is important to reach out to those around you, be it family, friends, community resources, etc. Many employers offer an employee assistance program that offers a certain number of visits to a mental health provider too.
Now you might be thinking, “I really don’t want to talk about my problems with some stranger.” While you may not know the individual who is counseling you, keep in mind that he or she is a professional. The service is always completely confidential also. Unless you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, no one else will know that you are seeing someone unless you bring up the subject.
I have often heard the expression, “Better out than in.” That certainly rings true with treatment for depression. So finding the right therapist may be a bit of a challenge at first. You want to feel comfortable with who you are seeing. Usually at the first session or two, you will know if the provider is a good fit for you. Your family doctor may also be able to recommend someone for you if you need some help.
Many local communities have support groups which meet regularly so others could open up about their illness. Being surrounded by others who can say they have been there and done that can be very beneficial. This is a good way to build support systems and have an outlet for those days when depression is really getting the best of you. Don’t forget to mention when you’ve had a good day; people need to hear that so they know there is hope and the sun can shine more often than not.
It is imperative that you communicate with your doctor what is going on. Sometimes depression can be a result of a current illness. A thorough examination can help determine that. But if you are truly dealing with depression as a result or genetics, your doctor can prescribe antidepressants. A lot of people may be skeptical about taking some pill to help with their mood or feel it is a weakness. The latter is untrue: you are taking back your life by reaching out for help. So it is really important that you listen to your doctor and take your medication as prescribed. Continuing with therapy while taking medication is important too as there is no magic pill to make it all go away. Periodic adjustments, such as a change in dosage, may be needed. Depression is often associated with a chemical imbalance and the antidepressant works to bridge the gap. It is similar to how a diabetic needs insulin.
I can’t tell you how to feel because you own your emotions and no one else can experience them the same way as you do. But know that depression will never define you. All of the great qualities you possess are still there; you are so much better than this. Depression is just one more mountain to climb, however, it doesn’t have to be like that.
Once you have a handle on it, think of depression as an advantage. Why? You are unique in that you could relate to others from having firsthand knowledge. Therefore, you can be the listening ear to someone when no one else understands. If you love to write why not use that as a way to inspire others to keep on keeping on. By having a voice, you are helping to lessen the mental health stigma and increasing awareness. The service you can provide for others is just invaluable.
No matter how severe your depression is, it will get better. Never stop believing. You have depression, but it doesn’t have to have you.