It feels like being in a Black Hole. There is no light and you just keep getting sucked in further and further There is no way out.
Snap out of it!
Things are not that bad!
How many times has someone been impatient with you feeling negative and gloomy? How many times have you given up trying to explain, because it doesn't make any sense? There's no particular reason you feel so bad, you just do. Then you don't want to be around your friends and family because you can't explain why you're not happy AND being around happy people just makes it worse. You feel more and more alone. You start feeling like everyone would be better off if you just weren't around. So you stay away. Eventually people stop trying to pull you out of your isolation and depression. Being around you is a bummer. "You see the dark cloud in every silver lining."
You feel better when you're sleeping, so you sleep as much as you can. Or the opposite happens, when you can't sleep. You either can't get to sleep, can't stay asleep or wake up way too soon. Then you're tired all the time. You have no energy. Nothing is fun. Nothing is funny. You can't concentrate. Things seem harder and harder. Food tastes bland. Sometimes you eat anyway. Sometimes you have no appetite. Sometimes you snap at people and hate the world. Sometimes you cry when you "should" be happy. You know there's something wrong, so does everyone else. Everyone's attempt at trying to help pisses you off. Even your dog looks at you with pity. You just want to be left alone......but not really.
Depression is like walking around with no skin.
Everything hurts. Anything that brushes up against you causes pain. A hug feels bad. Regular, normal things that happen to everyone throughout the day are at the least irritating, at most painful. You spend your time avoiding anything that could hurt. People say things that you take personally. You get your feelings hurt easily. Everything seems huge. It requires so much effort, it often doesn't seem worth it. You feel like Eeyore all the time. You hate it, but nothing helps. You lose hope that it will ever get better.
Does anything help?
The short answer is yes. We know some things that can help someone with depression feel better.
When I drink or get loaded, or have sex I feel normal.
What that tells us is that when your brain chemistry changes the symptoms get better. That is a very important clue! It is definitely the right idea, just not the right chemicals. Addiction has a way of biting us in the rear and causing our lives to be miserable....not to mention hurting the people we care about most.
I'm not taking those pills! I don't want to be a guinea pig.
Medicine is not right for everyone. If medicine is necessary, there is no blood test to determine which one will help the most. Prescribers discuss the symptoms you are having and match you with the medicine that will alleviate the most of them. Mental health treatment is not an exact science. Sometimes if one medicine doesn't work, another one will.
This is what we know. There is a difference between feeling depressed and having a clinical depression. Feeling depressed is only one symptom of clinical depression. There are several forms of depression. Some depression is fatal, resulting in suicide or death from risky behavior. Treatment for depression must take into consideration which type of depression you have.
Sadness is not depression. Grief is not depression. If you have lost something or someone important to you, you will feel sad. This is normal and healthy. There is not a set period of time for people to grieve. Grieving comes in waves. Sometimes you feel better, then it hits you again. It does get better over time.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Types of depression:
1. Major depression: When the bottom drops out, sometimes people are unable to work or parent.
2. Dysthymia: Just generally feeling blah, washed out all the time for no particular reason
3. Bipolar I: A cycle, extreme mood swings, sometimes the depression takes over followed by times of feeling great, almost too great,
4. Bipolar II: Times when the bottom drops out, followed by a time when things feel a little better, but still not good. Sometimes for a while there is a lot of energy, people can't sleep, are very distracted, talk fast and then for a while everything slows down.
5. Postpartem: A major depressive episode after having a baby.
6. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Feeling more depressed in the winter or when the weather is gloomy.
It is extremely important to have a professional determine which type of depression you are experiencing especially if you are considering taking psychiatric medication. Medication meant for a unipolar depression, major depressive disorder, dysthymia or post-partem depression will probably make Bipolar I & II much worse. It easy for someone to get a wrong diagnosis with Bipolar because they usually ask for help when they are experiencing the depression symptoms, not the manic or hypomanic symptoms.
Types of treatment:
Spending time with people you love
Getting involved in something important to you
Working with animals
Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (changing the way we think and behave)
Skills training (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, stress management, etc)
Various types of medicines, from SSRI's, SSNRI's, mood stabilizers to tricyclics and MAOI's
Sleep disorder treatment with medication or CPAP
Hospitalization either for crisis stabilization, or longer term if symptoms do not respond to treatment
The most important thing to know is that depression is treatable. You are not the only one who has experienced it. You do not have to be alone.