There’s many misconceptions about people with depression: it’s just being a little bit sad, you can snap out of it, they’re just lazy, just an excuse, overemotional. None of this is true. But, what is it really like to have depression? It is pretty difficult to understand unless you have been through it, I’m going to try and give you an idea though.
Some days are better than others but, the bad days are really bad. I’ve had a lot of bad days over the years. Lying in bed, completely unable to move or function. Curtains drawn, no energy to even make a cup of tea. Eating is too much effort and showering is completely out of question. Sometimes tears will not stop and other times crying is impossible, just numbness. Nothing. Darkness. No phone calls, I don’t want to contact anyone. I’ll just bring them down and that’s not fair. Isolation. So back to sleep because at least then I don’t have to think about anything. About the misery in the world. Maybe even about death. Because nothing is good, everything is awful. I am useless and worthless and everybody hates me. What’s even the point in living? Why bother? Everything hurts. So yeah, depression really sucks. It takes a lot of energy being so damn miserable.
How exactly is this supposed to get better? It often feels like it never will. But, it really can. Life with depression is hard but there are ways to manage it. Talking really helps – to a counsellor, partner, friend, doctor. There is some relief in just getting it out, letting go of some of the horrid thoughts in your head. Medication can also ease the problem, it can be pretty difficult to find what is right for you but once you do, it can definitely make the world seem a little brighter. Remind yourself of the good things in life – sometimes depression makes it difficult to see the good in anything, you feel like there is nothing to be grateful for – even if it’s something small like the taste of tea!
Depression affects a lot of people from all walks of life. It can last a couple of months as the result of job loss, bereavement etc. Or it could be something you suffer with for much longer. There are a variety of causes and many people find it hard to figure out exactly what it is.
If you know someone with depression, do not tell them to cheer up, do not tell them they have nothing to be sad about, do not think that they can snap out of it. Do be supportive and offer help when they need it, be kind and patient and understanding.
If you have depression or think you might, do not be ashamed. Speak up. Talk to your doctor. Explain it to your friends. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is a mental health problem and it requires help. Open up to people. If we all keep talking about it, the stigma attached to it will eventually start to wear away. We can fight depression one day at a time.