Those people who don’t acknowledge the desperate symptoms of depression, or in fact struggle to acknowledge the pain of mental illness full stop please read on!
I am known for being pretty quick at doing things, not least getting ready, either to go to work or out for the evening. I oftensurprise myself how quickly I can get to work if I oversleep!
For the last week I have experienced deep depression and over the last 3 days this has been very intense. I haven’t been able to function anywhere near what might be considered ‘normal’ for me. Today I have spent the majority of the day in bed and put all my energy into getting ready to go out tonight. I can already hear people say ‘you can’t be that ill if able to go out’. I am not going to a nightclub or even to a restaurant but instead going to a low key dinner organised by some friends of my Mums. Cancelling plans is obviously an option but often the guilt involved with doing so can be even more difficult than the effort taken to go out.
This morning after another difficult night I woke about 8am but was still feeling drugged from the night before and managed to rest again for a few hours until 11am. Even then getting up seemed completely impossible. My head felt like lead and the physical pain in my body and head was really intense and then as I started to feel more human the thoughts and flashbacks that have haunted me through most of my waking hours over the past few days hit me again. I don’t seem to feel anything in particular when I am this depressed but instead am all consumed by a horrid numbness that is so debilitating.
When I finally managed to surface it took a long while before I could manage a conversation. This is such a hard thing for me as I am a normally a sociable person, I love a good chat and even more importantly when I am depressed I need to talk so badly as my thoughts can be even more destructive if I don’t talk them through with someone. When the depression affects my ability to communicate it can mean that the depression is fuelled further by the negative thoughts.
After only being up for a couple of hours I went back to bed. My head hurt from the effort I had made to get up and my body ached so much. We were being collected at 7pm and so I needed to have a shower which I am ashamed to say hasn’t happened in the past 3 days. I thought if I showered at 5pm that would give me plenty of time but when 5pm came I just couldn’t get out of bed and it was another half an hour at least before I managed to get up.
I sat on the bed whilst drying my hair instead of standing up looking in the mirror. Looking in a mirror when I feel as wretched as I do about myself certainly never helps the depression and just adds to my anxiety. I grab a pair of jeans and crave finding a comfortable hoody to feel safe in but instead try and make an effort with a nice top and jacket. I can’t believe that just showering, drying my hair and getting dressed had taken over an hour as each step involved having another lie down to find enough energy to carry on.
Yes I can do putting on a front, smiling and pushing myself to engage in conversation but only those closest to me know the impact that has, the recovery time that I will need afterwards and only a few can see the pain in my eyes from having to push myself to do anything.
Depression for me is more than intense sadness. It is the most awful pain that seems to follow me everywhere. If I manage a distraction it only lasts a short time before being brought back down to earth with such a bump. Be gentle with those people you know who are depressed. Try not to judge those who seem to be doing ‘normal’ activities – you don’t know how long it took them to get there.