Depression Isn’t Just About the Sads
I haven’t been blogging much over the past few months. This is why. I am trying to take big steps to get better but that takes a lot of energy that I don’t have very often lately. Just writing this post had me in tears and was a big wake up call for how *in it* I currently am. It’s hard to deny that you’re not ok when you see all of your symptoms in one place, you know? The saddest thing is that I could have kept going and kept listing things. If you’ve been depressed, you know how it goes.
And even though it feels super expose-y to me, I’m sharing this because it’s also a good reminder that depression isn’t just about feeling sad. There are many other emotions that can be factors. And all of those can have very real and tangible effects on your life. I also want to say that this is my experience with depression in the past few months – not everyone, including myself in the past, experiences it the same way. Remember that next time you tell someone to “just cheer up!”
CW: depression symptoms, disordered eating behavior
Depression is taking too long to do the simplest tasks. It’s starting one and then taking a million breaks in between. It’s saying, “let me just do x,y, & z first real quick.” It’s saying, “I’m too tired today. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Depression is having an overactive mind but the inability to focus. It’s big ideas but no energy to make them happen. It’s critical self-awareness but the inability to change what you know you need to. It’s being helplessly stuck and knowing it.
Depression is telling yourself that you’re fine even though you can’t get out of bed. It’s how you sleep in or can’t sleep or take epic naps just to get through the day. It’s vivid dreams that you sometimes mistake for reality or memories. It’s big chunks of your memory missing. It’s nightmares that are so real they have left you debilitated and triggered, sometimes for days.
Depression is making dry shampoo and wet wipes your best friends. It’s showering once a week after talking yourself into it for two days first. It’s forgetting to brush your teeth today because you never really got up out of bed. It’s doing your laundry once a month. It’s wearing what you wore yesterday because you didn’t go anywhere then and you won’t today either.
Depression is calling out from your job if you can keep one. It’s being late almost every day because getting out of the safety of your bed is literally painful sometimes. It’s working hard when you can because you feel so guilty about the times you can’t. Depression is losing money you need to survive because you are unable to work for it.
Depression is a seemingly endless cycle of self-care and self-soothing followed by immense guilt for the amount of time you spend doing that instead of something else more “productive.” It’s trying everything under the sun to feel differently. It’s having some things work but only sometimes and never long enough. It’s being too tired to do that one thing you know will help.
Depression is needing and bonding with pets but not always being able to take care of them. It’s not buying food for you so you can afford cat food. It’s promising to clean the litter box…soon. It’s smothering them with affection while you cry into their fur. It’s how you think they are the only things that keep you going sometimes.
Depression is eating “crappy” food because you don’t have the energy to cook. It’s eating “too much” because you’re bored or listless or trying to drown your feelings. It’s not eating because at least that light-headedness distracts you from how you feel. Or because you flat out forgot. Because you are stuck in your head and your head doesn’t allow normal “adulting” right now. It’s not having the energy to grocery shop and sometimes not having the money to anyway.
Depression is living in “squalor” because you have no energy to clean. It’s comforting yourself with things and disarray because it buffers you from the world. It’s the mess you keep so you can justify isolating yourself so no one has to see you like this. It’s needing help with daily tasks but feeling so much shame that you can’t ask for help anyway.
Depression is feeling like a failure because you can’t do normal life things. It’s feeling like a failure because you need therapy or medication or both. It’s feeling like a failure when you’ve done so much work just to stay alive but on the outside, don’t have anything to show for it. It’s feeling like you’re constantly behind in life but reminding yourself not to compare because if you do, you might give up entirely.
Depression is burying yourself with guilt and shame in silence because you have an image to uphold. It’s making small cries for help in public to people who can only peripherally help you because you don’t know how to accept help from the people who can actually help the most. It’s staying silent because most of your friends suffer too and you don’t want to be a burden or ask for too much or take too much. It’s hiding your feelings from the people who are closest to you. It’s forcing a smile and hoping they can’t see behind it.
It’s a brave face. And numbness. And so many other things. Depression isn’t just about the sads.
If any of this resonates, first of all – I’m sorry. Second, if you need someone to reach out to, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not a professional though and I don’t have any magical cure. Please try to take care of yourself the best you can and ask for help. You’re worth it. ♥