I just read a blog post about a young woman and her "stress," which sounded a lot to me like depression. It made me wonder what people think is going on with them when they see their life changing, in ways that aren't good, and attribute it to something controllable. The truth is that Depression is what it is. It is not something you can just decide not to feel. You cannot decide one day to just not "feel" depressed. Because it is so much more than feeling sad. It's feeling sick, tired, overwhelmed, angry, zapped of energy, achy and more.
Being Depressed is not a decision. Sometimes it comes after an illness, or as part of an illness. Sometimes it comes first and causes illness. Usually it comes after some kind of trauma. It also usually arrives because you are predisposed to it. If you have a family history of depression (also known as self-medicated illnesses; like alcoholism or drug abuse) you will be more likely to fall prey to the illness.
On Pinterest today I saw a picture of PET-scans of peoples brains who were or weren't depressed. The results are fascinating and just more proof that Depression is an illness.
It is not a lack of faith.
It is not weakness.
It is not a hypochondriacs dream.
It is real.
It is debilitating and requires patience and gentleness by the Depressed person and those that live with them.
I've seen the advertisement that asks, "Who does depression hurt?" and the answer is "Everyone."
I know this is true.
I am Depressed.
I take medication (currently) and sometimes it feels like it's working, and sometimes it doesn't. I wish I didn't have to take it. I wish I could will away this malaise and just Do and Be like I see others.
But I can't.
I have had to learn to forgive myself for my weaknesses and failings.
Depression is part of who I am and that is something I have come to accept.
That being said, I also accept that there is treatment and I am well to follow that advice of my doctors and other professionals that tell me the key to overcoming the symptoms of depression not only include taking my medication regularly but also exercising (very difficult to do when you feel lousy) and making sure I eat right and drink enough water.
Never more than having to deal with the after-effects of poor self-care do I realize how important it is to be mindful of what I do and don't put into my body.
I am Depressed, but Depression doesn't own me.
I still strive to make my bed every day. I make an effort to make dinner for my family most nights (they will tell you that we have YoYo --You're on Your own-- several times a month). I also work hard to stay on top of the laundry and the kitchen.
Many days everything else either has to go or I have to delegate.
I have forced myself to do things but that usually doesn't work very well (the repercussions aren't worth it). I have learned that it's best to inventory how I'm feeling and respond on a daily basis. Some things I have decided are no-brainers, like doctor appointments. Other things just don't get done. I tend to not volunteer for things because I never know how I'm going to feel. Yes, this is exasperating but I have learned to accept it. I try to plan ahead as often as possible and make a plan to compensate for a "bad day" ahead of time.
Again, I feel the need for this information to get out there. I worry about so many that are Depressed and don't know it. They think they are failures when there is treatments available to help them. Anti-depressants are not "happy pills" that make all the bad stuff go away. For me they simply make life manageable. Without them I do not function and the bad feelings perpetuate themselves.
I am always available to discuss symptoms and treatment. Feel free to contact me on Facebook (best way) and I will respond.
I know what it's like to feel alone and isolated because your body won't do what you want it to do.