Depression has been a longstanding presence in our world, affecting individuals across generations. While some individuals openly discuss their struggles with depression, others feel a sense of shame surrounding it.
Statistics reveal that a staggering 1 in 4 individuals grapple with severe depression. Some have encouraged me to share my journey through the ups and downs, akin to a rollercoaster. Initially hesitant, I now recognize the value in opening up about my experiences and encouraging others to do the same. Depression takes on diverse forms, respecting the varying degrees of intensity that people encounter.
Reflecting, I acknowledge the multitude of pathways that depression can take. Understanding the severity spectrum is essential. In bygone eras, the mere presence of any mental disorder often triggered feelings of shame and repulsion within families. Regrettably, this often led to individuals being ostracized or confined to facilities.
I’ve encountered a few people who have dealt with this horrible illness. Some would say they can speak openly about it and feel that they have officially admitted that they are dealing with this, they feel so much better. Others close themselves in from the world and hide the truth.
I, for one, did that for quite some time, and if it ever did come up in a conversation about my mood, people would say, “Well, come on! Just be happy“. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. I was diagnosed with depression back in 2012. It was a year of moving cities, a new job, a new life. Many people didn’t understand how I was acting towards them – being quiet, and excluding myself from conversations. I just wanted to be alone and do my own thing.
My confidence dropped, and my social skills were non-existent, much like my appetite. I never spoke to anybody about it as I knew it would just be a case of people not understanding.
Outsiders would see I had friends, great family support, and a nice place to live. Why would I have a reason to be unhappy? When I decided it was time to open up about my depression, I got some hurtful comments.
|“Just get over it.”||A dismissive remark suggesting quick resolution.|
|“Just be happy.”||Simplistic advice to overcome feelings of sadness.|
|“Have you taken your medication?”||Inquiring about the use of prescribed medication.|
|“You’re just having a bad day.”||Minimizing feelings by attributing them to a day’s challenges.|
|“Cheer up.”||Encouragement to adopt a more positive attitude.|
|“You have so much going for you! Stop being selfish…”||Accusation of self-centeredness despite struggles.|
Whenever I find myself getting upset or annoyed, people often ask, “Have you managed to take your medication today?” It’s as if they believe a simple pill holds the power to erase all my troubles – I wish it were that easy! I’m sharing this because I know there are countless others in similar situations, yet we each navigate the challenges of this world in our unique ways.
One thing I’ve come to realize is that authenticity prevails. You might possess abundant wealth, enjoy a thriving career, and be surrounded by an amazing circle of friends and family, yet the guilt of feeling low can be overwhelming. You might be surprised to learn that a turning point for me was the arrival of my ragdoll kitten in 2013 – a Christmas gift from my boyfriend.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just me against the world; I had a sweet, cuddly kitten who relied on me. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. She became a shining star in my life, reminding me of the underestimated power of pets. It’s not always about relying on medication and therapy. Surrounding yourself with things that bring joy can be a potent strategy. It’s a journey of progress, not an instant cure.
Many people enduring this struggle lack someone to confide in. The unsettling reality is that numerous individuals silently battle depression. Outward appearances can deceive; the well-dressed, seemingly content people we pass on the street may be masking their pain. Remember, just because you can’t visibly see “depression” doesn’t mean it’s absent.
You’re the driver of your own life’s car. You have the choice to navigate the roads that resonate with you. If your job is a source of unhappiness, consider changing gears and seeking something that truly fulfils you – perhaps travel, a new hobby, or engaging in workshops. It’s a journey that takes time, but grasping the understanding that you’re not alone and identifying the sources of your unhappiness is the crucial first step. From there, progress unfolds.
What does it feel like to be depressed?
The feeling of depression is more profound, longer and more unpleasant than the short episodes of unhappiness that everyone experiences occasionally. You will notice:
|Symptoms of Depression||Description|
|Persistent sadness or low mood||Ongoing feelings of deep unhappiness or melancholy.|
|Not being able to enjoy things||Inability to find pleasure or satisfaction in activities.|
|Losing interest in life||Lack of enthusiasm or engagement in daily life.|
|Finding it harder to make decisions||Struggles with making choices or decisions.|
|Not coping with things that used to be easy||Inability to handle tasks that were once manageable.|
|Feeling exhausted||Overwhelming tiredness or fatigue.|
|Feeling restless and agitated||Unsettled emotions and restlessness.|
|Loss of appetite and weight||Reduced desire to eat and unintended weight loss.|
|Difficulties getting to sleep||Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.|
|Loss of sex drive||Decreased interest or desire for sexual activity.|
|Thoughts of self-harm or suicide||Contemplating or considering self-harm or suicide.|
Doctors grade depression as mild, moderate, and severe to help them choose treatment. One thing that profoundly helped me (along with my Ragdoll–Pancakes) is my family support.
I know how fortunate I am. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same, and some people have had to take drastic measures for people to realize what’s going on.
It’s all about support, being open and honest, and even if some people don’t understand you 100%, you can feel so much better about yourself for being honest about the situation and being open, and you don’t feel alone. Sometimes, opening up and having someone listen is just what you need.
|Facts & Stats on Depression||Description|
|People of all ages, backgrounds, lifestyles, and nationalities suffer from major depression, with a few exceptions.||Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.|
|Ten times more people suffer from major depression now than in 1945.||The prevalence of major depression has significantly increased over the years.|
|The average age of the first onset of major depression is 25–29.||The initial appearance of major depression typically occurs during this age range.|
|Up to 80% of suicide deaths are in sufferers of major depression.||Depression is a significant factor in many suicide cases.|
|Depression has different triggers. People have a higher risk of depression if they’ve recently been through a stressful life event, if they’ve had depression in the past, or if a close family member has been depressed. Sometimes depression develops without any apparent cause.||Various factors can contribute to the development of depression.|
|Depressed people might not look depressed. “Depression is a hidden illness,” says Jeremy Coplan, MD, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Downstate in New York. Some people can seem upbeat and cheerful, but on the inside, they’re struggling with the symptoms of depression.||Depressed individuals might not exhibit outward signs of their internal struggle.|
|About a quarter of suicides in the US are felt to be due to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed major depression.||Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed depression can contribute to a significant number of suicides.|
|Depression makes it hard to give. It’s tough to think of other people when you’re wrapped in a prickly blanket of sadness, and all you can think about is your pain. Be proactive and take just a few steps to heal. Try reading a book to help you understand what you are going through and how best to deal with it.||Depression can hinder the ability to engage with others. Taking steps to heal and seek understanding can be beneficial.|
If you or anyone you know needs help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You are not alone. Feel free to contact the following resources or send me a message for a chat: