I read a lot of the posts on this forum and one very common feature of what people are going through is the fear and panic they feel at what is happening to them. Browse through the posts and you will see a lot of, 'I don't know what's happening', 'Something is not right', 'I'm losing my mind', etc. I've made similar statements in some of my previous posts on this very forum in the past.
Even though I've suffered from depression for more than 10 years I am still freaking out at how bad I'm feeling right now. Surely by now I should be an expert at managing this? I have had enough experience after all.
So, this is what I'm trying to tell myself (and for what it's worth I know this to be totally true, it's just that depression sometimes casts a dark fog over our thinking):
For all the terrible symptoms it produces we are all suffering from the SAME basic condition. Of course depression and anxiety affect us uniquely, such is the nature of a disease of the most amazing and complex system known to man, the human brain. However, even though we probably all feel like we are going through something totally personal to us, and I don't deny that in a sense we are, essentially we're all suffering from the same underlying illness, caused by abnormal changes in our brain neurochemistry.
The reason none of us can just 'snap out' of depression is that it's an absolutely real illness. Stop thinking of the symptoms you are experiencing as being a manifest reflection of something that is deeply wrong with you. You're just ill. In the future they will be able to precisely elucidate the neurochemical changes that are going on within the brain. For now, they have kind of a rough idea of what's going on but not much more than that.
Some days I wake up and can hardly get out of bed. I mean that quite literally. I feel numb to everything, no energy, utter hopelessness for the future and no interest in anybody or anything. Then a day later I can wake up and feel totally normal. Nothing in my life circumstances has changed from the bad day to the good day, it just so happens that for some reason that is inexplicable to me on the first day my neurochemistry is screwed up and on the second day it is within normal ranges.
So whatever weird, horrifying, disturbing symptoms you are suffering from please try to remember that you're just ill. If it was an illness of the body you would feel pain or you would have difficulty walking or impaired vision. However, because illnesses like diabetes, arthritis, etc affect organs other than the brain the symptoms they produce, while they can of course be very serious, are still more uniform and less confounding than an illness which affects the brain, an organ many many times more complex than anything else in these bodies of ours.
If you feel totally down or anxious when reading this then just accept that there is little that you can do about the way you feel right now to feel instantly better, although of course things like exercise and certain fast acting medications can help greatly. But also know that your brain chemistry is in flux and you are not going to carry on feeling like this forever. There's no point trying to analyse the way you feel or trying to think the way out of your depression, anymore than it would make sense to try and think your way out of diabetes. The depression or anxiety is there, it is making you feel so bad and when it goes you will feel better. I realise that we might all have developed depression for different reasons but I doubt there is one person on this forum that can say that his or her life circumstances are absolutely unique and that the life he or she has gone through is worse than that experienced by many of the millions of people who go through terrible things but don't ever develop depression.
Accept that the depression or anxiety is there for now, stop thinking about it and learn to function as best you can even with the worst depression or anxiety that you have ever felt. And take hope in the knowledge that this will get better.
Many posters are also blaming themselves for something that is not in the least their fault and saying things like 'I feel like a loser', 'I don't feel worthy', etc, etc. I say to you 'Nonsense!!!' You are just ill. In fact you are more worthy than most because you're dealing with a horrible illness and still managing to keep going. Most of you deserve medals, I tell you that. You're soldiers. Yet because our society is so nasty and backwards, we are still expected to function as well as people who don't have depression at all. When I think about how I am, I mean how functional I am on a good day as compared to a bad day, the gulf between the two is massive. The bad day Bud cannot possibly hope to compete with the good day Bud. It's like trying to be in a fight with someone with one hand tied behind your back. So be realistic and don't be too hard on yourselves. When you're down then do what you can but don't expect too much. Be gentle. As for what everyone in your company or your social circle thinks, to hell with them. They're not experiencing this and you are. Human beings like to go around feeling superior to others and judgmental, especially in modern workplaces. Their lack of sympathy, empathy or understanding is a sad reflection on them, not on you. I tell you you are all wonderful people and it pains me to see you suffer. Well maybe right at the moment you can't help the suffering but you can avoid compounding it.
Let's support each other through this and take the view that we are in it together. Know that if you post here you'll get a reply, so however incapable of understanding people in your lives might be, you'll always have this forum to come to. I don't know about you but I at least find great solace in that.
Thanks for listening.
- chinainyourhands, MrSnappy, renegade_00 and 127 others like this