If there is one thing so many people can understand it’s Depression, but do non-sufferers really understand the full weight you carry? Or just not try and understand?
I’ve never really taken the time to understand depression even when being assailed by its demons. Even bringing up depression has friends and family reeling “no! you don’t!” They’d say or simply scoff and brush it off “you’re just having a bad day”
A bad day…..
A bad is when you blow a tire and you 45 mins late to an important meeting! A bad day is when your kids just won’t let you pee by yourself and then you spill milk all over the shopping centre floor! A bad day is when you simply don’t get enough sleep so you make mistakes at work which forces you to have to redo everything!
That’s a bad day!
My “Bad Days” consist of being physically sick because my mind is full of shadows, my bad days are not moving from bed all day and sleeping my life away because I just can’t see the benefits of living! My Bad days are watching everyone around me through a grey haze because I don’t fit in or feel like I should even bother, I’m convinced those same people hate me but won’t tell me, I’m convinced they will toss me out like an old sandwich… No remorse, no concern, nothing holding them back from completely wiping me from their lives and memories.
My “bad days”,, as you call it, are warped into desperation and illness. I’ll spend nights not sleeping because my mind won’t stop telling me the world doesn’t want me! I’ll spend days not eating because my emotions are just so very dark that I’m feeling incredibly sick. I’ll do all these things day in and day out.
My bad days are more than my good days. If I asked a non-suffer when there bad days like mine were I bet they’d probably say a few times a year. You’re a few times a year can be our “good days”!
Let that marinate in your minds eye… tell me if you can live in the shadows like we do!
I’m not writing this so that I can gain sympathy, I’m not writing this because I want attention. I don’t want that attention! I hate having my life tainted with depression and anxiety!
I want to love my life!
My life is awesome!
I can understand, logically, that I am incredibly lucky but emotionally I’m always waiting for the fall out. Mentally I’m always fighting with myself to recognise the awesomeness that is my life! I’m tired, mentally, emotionally and physically tired of fighting myself and then fighting the pitfalls of life.
I don’t want your sympathy.
Your empathy… maybe.
Your understanding….. yes!
Your support…… most definitely!
Right now I’m sitting here thinking “gee you sound like a whinging little parasite, who cares about your issues? Nobody is going to want to read this you’re wasting your time! You’re not important enough for this to matter! Why would you bother with this post? Everyone is going to think you are only after the attention. Nobody likes those people who beg for attention! Scorn…. ridicule… that’s all you’re going to get because they can see through you and your attempts at bringing awareness!”
But I want to write this because I DO want to share with you! I want to show people they aren’t alone! And right now, with my depression swirling around my head, I think that this is the PERFECT time for ME to write about it!
Do you know what depression is?? Do you know how to combat it?? Do you know who to see when it hits?? I’ll be honest I’m horrible at all those things when it comes to me!
But when it comes to others I’m quite happy to show you the way!
And my blog is how I’m going to!
So, What is depression?
Anyone can feel depressed, most people have. But BEING depressed is different. Depression is the onset of low emotions that persist for days, weeks, and months at a time. Some sufferers have depression so bad that their low moods can last years. It can affect you physically as well. Lots of sufferers deal with headaches, nausea, and aches and pains. A lot of sufferers even gain or lose weight as their moods change. I, myself, binge eat when my mood plummets and then it’s a vicious cycle I get depressed about my weight then I eat and get depressed about how much I’m eating.
How does it affect you?
Depression affects you in various ways. Including the way you think and act. Many believe that depression is about low and negative moods, the moods are just one aspect to how you can be affected.
So, What are the signs?
• Lowered self esteem and/or self worth
• Changes In sleep
• Changes in appetite
• Changes in sexual drives (decrease or absent)
• Uncontrollable emotional states ( generally towards the negative! Feeling guilty, inadequate, pessimistic anger, irritability, and anxiety, etc),
• Varying Emotion levels (feeling down in the morning but gradually feeling better as the day continues)
• Reduced Pain Tolerance (lowered pain thresholds and an increase of persistent ailments)
• Poor Concentration And Memory ( some sufferers feel demented)
• Poor Motivation
• Less likely to go out
• Failure to finish work/school work
• Withdrawing from friends and family
• Relying on alcohol or sedatives
• Inability to enjoy normal activities (activities they have enjoyed in the past)
• An increase of negative thoughts (I’m a failure, it’s my fault, everyone would be better off without me, etc)
• Feeling tired and drained constantly
• Always sick
• Headaches and muscles pains
• Churning Stomach/nausea
These signs and symptoms are continually and may present at any time and sometimes for no reason.
So, How do you treat depression?
If you’re lucky you can get through it without intervention. Most people however employ treatments that deal with depression through Psychological (therapy) means, Pharmaceutical means, or with Natural Medicines and Therapies (meditation, aromatherapy, etc).
Psychological Therapies can be done alone or in groups. The most common and most effective treatment is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). It is a structured treatment that works by identifying thoughts and behaviours that cause depression or those that hinder recovery. This treatment method teaches you to think rationally about the issue at hand and to alter negative thoughts and behaviour patterns or reactions into something more realistic and positive.
The other treatments are Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness-based Congnitive Therapy (MBCT)
Pharmaceutical forms of treatments don’t just consist of antidepressants. More severe cases, use antipsychotics, mood stabilisers, and antidepressants to combat their conditions (such as Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis).
There are a lot of antidepressants to choose from. The antidepressant a suffer ends up using can be one of SIX types. All work, all have side effects and all are given based on many factors, medical history, age, symptoms, other medications, severity, pregnancy or breastfeeding (if you’re a women). They vary from person to person, so finding the right antidepressant and treatment for a single sufferer can take months. It’s, however, extremely important to find a treatment method that works for you! Forget how your best friend, sister, aunt, neighbour is doing. It’s all about YOU!
The most commonly used type of antidepressant in Australia are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s). These include Sertralines, Citaloprcem, Escitalopram, Paraoxetine, Fluoxetine, and Fluvoxamine. All of the SSRI’s are generally well tolerated and non-sedating (generally).
Others types of antidepressants are
Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI’s have fewer side effects, prescribed for severe depression and are safer when overdose occurs),
Reversible Inhibitors of Monoamine Oxidase A (RIMA’s have fewer side effects, non-sedating, less effective treating severe depression, help with anxiety and sleeping difficulties),
TriCyclic Antidepressants (TCA’s are effective but harmful, affects newer drugs ie SSRI’s, likely to cause low blood pressure),
Noradrenaline-Serotonin Specific Antidepressants (NaSSA’s are newer antidepressants, helpful with anxiety and sleeping, generally low in sexual side effects ie drop in desire/ability, may cause weight gain),
Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors (NARI’s designed to work selectively on Noradrenaline, less likely to cause drowsiness/sleepiness, after the initial does is likely to cause restless sleeping patterns, increase of sweat production, cause sexual difficulties, cause urination difficulties, increase heart rate).
This blog is important to me and mental illness is close to my heart. I appreciate you reading and hope you learnt something. Even if it’s just to listen harder when someone says they are having a “bad day”. Please if you believe a friend or loved one is suffering help can be reached at anytime on the following 24 hr Free call phone services.
1300 22 46 36
SANE Mental Illness Helpline
1800 688 382
The information I have shared to day can be found on the Beyondblue website (linked above) as well as a Mental Health check list.
The information used in today’s blog can also be found on Black Dog Institute website.
Both of these websites hold vast amounts of information and are in an easy to read format. I found them both truly helpful when researching this condition.
Take care of each other