I saw this hashtag on twitter a few days ago and knew instantly I needed to write about it. I have written posts around mental health before, and I figured what better than to write about how depression affects me. At a later date I may also speak about my anxiety, so keep an eye out on my blog for that.
Content Note: descriptions of depression and the affects, discussion on suicide not mentioning methods, discussion of antidepressants – namely prozac.
Depression, as with any other mental health condition, is experienced differently for every person. It can be a fleeting thing, something that only stays for a little while, then goes, it can be a one time thing, or it can return. It can also be a permanent thing, that doesn’t ever really leave. There can be good days, there can be bad days, it really varies.
For me, my depression is permanent. I have good days and bad days. I am currently taking medication, Prozac, for my depression, and it has helped a lot. When I am off my medication there are a lot more bad days than good days, I find myself slipping into a dark hole I have little to no chance of escaping from without at least a few bumps and bruises.
When I am having a bad day, my depression looks like hell. It looks like I have just lost my best friend, like I am alone. Despite having friends and family around me, my depression looks like I am grieving. It looks like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards.
On bad days, my depression means that I struggle to do the smallest of tasks. I struggle to get out of bed, to get dressed. I struggle to remember to eat – or to remember to stop eating. I don’t drink enough fluids, I struggle to even get up to go to the toilet.
Often my bad days lead to me taking it out on other people. I find myself more snappy, I take things personally, any small criticism hits me like someone has just slapped me in the face and kicked me to the ground. It feels like everyone is against me, I am the scum of the earth and nothing will ever change that, no matter how much good I do.
Some days, my depression is like a little fiend on my shoulder. It isn’t inside of me, rather someone trying to beat me down. Sometimes I can tune them out, tell the negative thoughts to leave me alone. I find if I distract myself it can sometimes become easier to manage, reading Harry Potter often helps.
Sometimes it is just too much to take though, and I have to hide away. I have had to call in sick to work before because if I go in I will be too numb to work. I have struggled to speak to people, gone through work in a haze, just getting the work done. It is awful because there is a voice in my head telling me that I am doing it badly, that I am useless at what I am doing, that someone else would be better, that if I was to walk out, nobody would care. It tells me I am useless, worthless, that everyone would be better off without me.
When it is really bad, it can turn nasty. I have had thoughts of suicide before. I know in my head that I have people who care about me, but when I am really bad I have had thoughts telling me that they would get over it. Once they have done everything needed, they would get over it. Sure they may grieve but it would be better for them if I was gone. I wouldn’t be spending their money, I wouldn’t be draining on their resources, they wouldn’t have to put up with my constant talking, my attitude, or any of my stuff.
Sitting here in a fairly good head space I know logically that it is untrue, that people would grieve. That it wouldn’t be something my close friends and family would just ‘get over’. I know deep down that isn’t how it would work. But there is still that part of me that thinks it may be easier. I know it is a horrible thought, and to any of my friends and family reading this, know I am not in a head space where I would consider doing that. Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, but it is important that we do so.
By contrast, on my good days, my depression looks like something that I can cope with. Right now I am going through a lot more good days than bad days, and I know in part at least this is down to my medication. Prozac can be bad for some people, I know a lot of people who have struggled with it and as a result tell others to avoid it at all costs, however I have had no issues. Prozac has helped me a lot has meant that my mental health is a lot easier to deal with.
My depression isn’t going to disappear, no matter how often I ‘think positive’ or ‘remember I am a smart guy’ or whatever else, it doesn’t just go away. Not for me. I have had depression most of my life, and have been dealing with it that whole time. Some days are a lot worse than others, that is something I just have to deal with. Medication is something that has been helping me, and I will remain on it as long as I need to.
I know this hasn’t been an easy read for a post, and I hope if you have been affected by anything I have written, you feel able to speak to myself, a friend, or a professional about how it has made you feel. Please take some time to look after yourself today, do something you love, even if that is just listening to one song on your music player, take a few minutes at least for you.
My best wishes go out to everyone who experiences depression, as well as any other mental health condition. You can get through it, and I know that is cliché but it is true. If you ever need anyone to talk to, send me a message, write a comment, or contact me through any social media you can find me on (see my sidebar). I hope to see you all again soon.