I have Major & Persistent Depressive Disorders. Not that I think the label is important, but in case you can identify with that type of diagnosis. Sometimes people do not understand why I am performing so poorly in life. I have been depressed for 10+ years, with the last year or so being the worst. Enough so that I planned to kill myself on August 22nd. I want to take a minute and try to explain my depression because in the last few weeks I’ve seen a sliver of light.
There are plenty of things in my past that have caused me trauma and those things may or may not be the precipitating factors in starting my depression. And trauma is something I have in common with many people. But some of us are able to set it aside and move on to other things.
I got stuck. I have had several people who care about me, tell me to just let go of the past and be happy with what I have. Those are all good sentiments, good advice.
But here’s the problem, and the reason I’m writing this, for myself and any other person you might know who is seriously depressed; the sentiments don’t cut through. My thoughts were like a space dust being pulled into a black hole.
Until 2 weeks ago I thought it was normal that I didn’t want to do stuff, I mean – shower, make my bed, do my laundry. I thought I was just lazy or tired even though I shouldn’t be. I started taking a new medication and very quickly felt like a completely different person. I was shocked.
A simple example of my thought pattern was this: “Hmm, my laundry needs to be done – I just can’t, it’s too much, I feel exhausted just thinking about trying to do that.”
With my new med this: “Hmm, my laundry needs to be done – it’ll be nice to have clean clothes, I should make my bed too.” AND I DO IT.
I cannot stress enough just how amazing this is to me. I realized that the little voice in my head that tosses around all my thoughts had just done a 180. I finally understood what people were talking about when they said to let go of the past and be happy with what I have.
Now I am not doctor or therapist but finding out that there really is a different way to feel was very liberating. And it’s because of a medication. I do not like having to rely on medications and I feel like there is a huge stigma on mental health medications. But they have great purpose to break the bad cycle of thoughts while you are working on the traumas that put you in that wrong head space.
The down side? I never know how long it will work. The medication that changed my thought patterns is causing worse side effects in the form of severe tremors and diminished ability to hold an intelligent conversation. I will keep trying until I find what works.
Please take from this that depression is real, it so badly fucks with your internal thoughts, and physiological energy. Medication can help, I think some of the older tried and true medications are safer, but some of the new stuff is pretty dank too.
If you know someone who is struggling, try not to give advice, because most advice isn’t taken well. Just be there for them. Hold them – it’s scientifically proven that a 20 second hug releases endorphins!! Encourage them to stay in touch with their docs/therapists. Remind them to take their meds if they are inconsistent. (Just taking my anti-depressant 1 hour later than normal I’ll have a very bad day). Offer to get them out of the house.
But most importantly: DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. ON. THEM. It is a long journey to pull out of depression and there will be good days and bad days and that could be months after doing well. Get knowledgeable about their diagnosis and ASK them what you can do to support them.