Unfortunately I haven’t been able to bake this week due to placement and university work piling up. But I still wanted to write a piece focusing on the other side of the blog. I am no expert, and I probably won’t say anything that hasn’t already been said but having a voice and taking control is what this blog is for.
My favourite quote about depression is from Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig “It doesn’t always have an obvious cause. … It can affect people … who seem, from the outside, to have no reasons to be miserable. It is mysterious even to those who suffer from it.”
This quote resonated with me because what is depression? Why does it happen? The signs and symptoms are different for different people. So no wonder it isn’t understood.
Depression is, first and foremost, hard. It’s hard for the person going through it, their partner, the person(s) they live with, their friends, family and colleagues. It’s hard to shower, to wear make-up or take it off. It’s hard to make your bed or even get out of that bed in the first place. It’s hard to stay focused, motivated and enthusiastic. Depression is hard.
Sleep is so important whilst healing because depression makes you physically and emotionally exhausted. But getting the right balance is incredibly hard. I often felt guilty or lazy when I realised a day had gone by and the only times I got out of bed was to make a cup of tea or use the bathroom. I love the idea of mornings, the thought of getting up and making pancakes, a fresh pot of coffee or putting on make-up. But something keeps you there, under the covers and tells you “there’s no point.” Since starting therapy I have learnt to not be so hard on myself. I call those days where leaving the flat is mission impossible a “recovery day.”
Nothing is wrong, but everything is wrong. Depression isn’t all about being sad. Instead of feeling sad and wanting to cry, I describe the feeling as numbness. Things that were once enjoyable aren’t anymore, new experiences aren’t exciting and the movie that once made you sob uncontrollably doesn’t. You want to be able to cry, to get angry or laugh and be happy. People mean well when they ask “Are you okay?” or “What is wrong?” but those are impossible questions to answer when you don’t even know yourself. It’s just a weight dragging you down, a dark cloud that won’t lift and show the sun, a glass box you’re stuck inside watching life go by, it’s dark tunnel that never seems to end.
The positive, it is an illness and so can be managed. Medication, therapy, traveling, walking, whatever helps, helps. Figuring out what works and doesn’t work is the first step to healing.