Who likes to think about depression, let alone talk about it? I certainly don’t but it’s not only important, it’s absolutely necessary!
There’s such a stigma around “Mental Illness” so let’s not call it that; let’s talk about Mental Health instead. Mental Health affects EVERYONE. The more we talk about it and the more we share our experiences with it the more healing there will be within ourselves and in the world around us.
The Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic defines depression as:
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.
If you have 5 or more of these signs and symptoms for more than 2 weeks, reach out to someone…anyone.
- insomnia, sleeping too much, restless sleep, not being able to stay asleep
- excessive hunger, no appetite at all, nausea
- easily agitated, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
- lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
- weight gain or weight loss
- persistently sad, lack of interest in things that once brought you joy and happiness, hopelessness
- guilt, worthlessness
Depression is a silent killer but it doesn’t have to be. Depression kills our spirit; it kills our self-worth; it kills our relationships. Let’s kill the stigma around depression. It is real. It does exist.
I’ve dealt with depression throughout my entire life (anxiety too but let’s leave that for another day). Some periods in my life have been worse than others and there are long stretches of time where I have no symptoms at all. I’ve been medicated for this condition in the past and I’m not ashamed to talk about it. The problems get worse when I don’t talk about it and don’t face it head-on. If someone asks me about it I will share because it’s the only way to bring awareness to it. When my son was 10 years old he said to me, “the only way to conquer your fear is to face it!”. Now, I know he was repeating something he heard and he said this to me as he was about to jump into the ocean approaching midnight as we were going on a night dive. (bucket list item, CHECK!). Needless to say, he is right!
My rock bottom was when I wouldn’t, literally couldn’t, leave my house. I couldn’t answer the phone to speak to anyone, not even my family. Nobody knew what I was feeling like inside. I didn’t know what was happening or how to get out of it. I lived like this for years!
One day I got the courage to ask for help. I had a young son and he needed his mom to be present in his life. I remember that day, sitting in my doctor’s office, tears streaming down my face. That was the start of my healing journey and the day I was given a prescription for antidepressants. They’re not for everyone, and not everyone needs them but they helped me clear out of the fog; they helped take the physical pain away so that I could start to get to work.
I’ve been off the antidepressants for about 10 years now. I am aware of my triggers and self-care is so important in keeping this silent killer at bay. As an introvert I am most susceptible to isolation; many times I force myself to do things out of my comfort zone so as not to fall back into old patterns but it’s soooo hard! I’ve said yes to so many things to then turn around and cancel at the last minute.
It’s tough writing this today. I haven’t written in quite some time due to these feelings coming back so out of my comfort zone I go. It’s difficult for me to let people in, to let people get close, to let people “love” me. I even put love in quotation marks! If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. It’s definitely a sign and symptom of depression; worthlessness.
Intellectually, I know I am worthy of love but the silent killer tells me otherwise… ALL THE TIME. Writing this is one of my ways of telling it it’s wrong. We all have irrational thoughts, ideas, and fears and coming together and speaking openly about something that not many people want to talk about will help to turn those thoughts, ideas, and fears around.
Don’t wait until you can’t leave your house and can’t answer your phone. If you don’t have anyone you feel you can talk to, you can talk to me! Depression sucks but you’re not alone.
On Facebook, you can reach me on my page A Nick in Time
On Instagram, you can reach me at @anickgirl
On Twitter, you can reach me at @anickthomas
You are not alone. Sharing Light and Love with all of you.