Depression is a word bounced around in far too many different ways and far too casually in my opinion.
In the UK it is classified as a disability in that it negatively affects your ability to do day to day tasks. A lot of people will say in a throw away manner that they are a “bit depressed”, if you’re feeling the effects you have good days and bad, but there are certainly no “bits”. The NHS describes the symptoms as lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have anxiety. It’s intense.
Looking back a decade in the past, I was carrying the dark passenger of depression. The weight was so great that it was a struggle to leave my bed, let alone my room and leaving the house was like running a marathon- scary, hard work and would take a long time to gear up for. Seeing people was the hardest part, their well meaning questions and reassurances that everything was fine were exasperating and made me feel even more isolated in that they could not comprehend the depth of the situation. You worry that you are crazy, that the cloud will never lift and you’ll spend your life hidden, alone, shrouded in dark thoughts.
Once you’ve reached the lowest point the only way is up, but there’s no ladder. Essentially you are climbing up a slick muddy wall and could slip back at any time.
The steps which I took came in various sizes depending on what I could manage. I have put some of them below, maybe they’ll be helpful if you feel yourself sliding.
-Sitting up in a different room for a while – slowly stepping towards a wider world
-Reading part of a newspaper – trying to get in touch with the world a bit
-Spending time with an animal – they don’t judge
-Going for a short drive – being enclosed from the outside world seemed to help
-Texting a friend – text is more manageable until you feel able to talk
-Going outside – in the garden or to a place where you won’t see people you know initially
-Setting goals – these can be anything but they help you to focus on something other than the dark.
-Getting dressed – putting on something other than pjs or trackies can help you to feel more put together
-Have a bath – as its less intense than a shower this can be relaxing
The biggest challenge with depression is the lack of understanding, so those of us that can should talk about it and share experience to help others.
In January I will be training to be a life coach and hope to utilise my experiences to help and support people to achieve the greatest gift in life; happiness.