Monday, 11 November 2013

Defining depression

Since starting this journey with depression and anxiety I have learnt so much. I can't define depression exactly because it is so much more than low mood and feeling sad. However, there have been many ways people have explained it to me which has helped me understand so much more. I wanted to share so if you know someone fighting this mental battle. You may understand them a little better.

1) Depression lies.

I think this is what I have heard the most. Depression lies and it loves to make you mask the truth. It tells you you'll think and feel this way forever. It really is like the devil on your shoulder and everyday it makes you question everything, even the things you know to be true. This has been the number one thing that has driven me stir crazy! There have been so many days where people have asked 'you okay?' and I say I am fine because the depression tells me to say it. When in fact I feel awful and so lonely.

2) It makes you believe thoughts are facts.

This is what has brought out the anxiety big time in me. I have always been a big thinker and feeler so when lots of negative thoughts fill my mind they become a fact of life. The most common thought I get is "I'm not good enough" and "People don't like me" because I have or haven't done something. I am learning to write lists against these thoughts but it is hard, because thoughts aren't necessarily facts! But I have this constant battle with myself that if I think it, then surely it must be true?

3) It suppresses who you really are.

In order to get out of thinking and feeling negatively you change things about yourself rather than your lifestyle. All my life I have been a giver and I think what burnt me out was doing too much of this. So I went and did the opposite which made me feel worse. Depression and anxiety almost makes you turn onto the flip side, that surely by doing the opposite will make you better. When in fact it makes you ten times worse.

4) Your sadness is the baseline by which everything else in your life should be measured by.

I think that sentence says it all but this has so much truth! I woke up most days accepting that feeling this way was the norm. I compared everything to feeling down and on my days that were good I would act defeatist by thinking 'well tomorrow I'll just wake up feeling low again.' It was like my good days were outnumbered by the bad.

5) It's your worst enemy but makes you feel like it's your best friend.

When I was going through the thick of my breakdown I did not agree with those words one bit. Depression was my enemy. It is only now that I am seeking help and treatment that I see so much honesty in that sentence. Depression makes you doubt, question and distorts everything good in your life. And I mean everything! So when I tried to explain how I was feeling to people they would often look confused or try to change my approach and attitude to problems. At the time it was the last thing I wanted so I would often to think to myself 'it's a good job I understand' or 'it's only me who gets this mess.' When in fact it was almost like my depression was befriending me to misconstrue my thoughts. By behaving and thinking like this I alienated myself and it's only in recent weeks I have let people in.

I hope by reading this people will understand some facts about how depression and anxiety affect others. It doesn't have any real definition because it changes so much about a person.

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