Hey folks, I know I haven’t posted in half a year, but I’m trying to change that. I often feel like I have to have something to say before I can post anything, but that’s because I’m lazy. Mostly. It also seems I have depression. I’m getting treated for it now so my willpower only has one major hurdle to overcome to get me to do things instead of two (depression and laziness).
I decided to make this blog post because I think people have a lot of misconceptions about what depression is. I also think most people who’ve never experienced a mental illness can’t quite wrap their brains around what it is like to experience it. So I decided to post about my experiences so that those that may be wondering just what in the blue blazes is wrong with you might be able to find something they can relate to and so that others might understand what sufferers might be going through when it is all but impossible to conceptualize something that is literally alien to how our brains are supposed to work. (Wow that was a long sentence).
So here’s the best description of my depression that I can conjure to date.
I continued to have ALL of my emotions, all of them. I could be happy. I could be sad. I could be angry. And I could be content. But slowly, so slowly that it was imperceptible, I started to feel a nothing in between. As that nothing feeling grew (and it totally did), I started to do less and to care less in general. I just wanted to relax because having to do things meant having to summon my willpower to gather the feelings necessary. This was a task that was getting harder and harder to do. It was much easier to sit and play video games.
Eventually the only real emotion I could have easily was anger … well anger or nothing. I could still feel everything else except maybe true contentment, but it was getting to be more and more of the extremes of those emotions. I wasn’t often sad, but if I ever did get sad, I’d burst into tears. When I was happy, I was ecstatic. But I was always just a little bit angry. I still had good days and bad days, but what I didn’t realize until after my meds kicked in was that my depression saddled good days were actually worse than my normal bad days. And since I was so easy to anger, anything that made me really angry just pulled me deeper and deeper.
I logically knew many times that *something* was wrong, but I figured it was my anxiety eating away at me. What drove me to the doctor was that I couldn’t concentrate without there being a ton of pressure to get something done. I assumed it was the anxiety or maybe ADD. I mean I definitely have some anxiety issues, but what I didn’t know was that anxiety and depression are VERY similar mechanically, and one can spawn or worsen the other. So my general practitioner sent me to a psychiatrist (a specialist because apparently a psychiatrist is also an MD – who knew?). She told me that the inability to concentrate mentally is analogous to a cough physically and therefore could be caused by a NUMBER of conditions.
So she asked me some questions, and I answered. I explained how I felt. I used a lot of metaphor, the two biggest of which were that I felt like I was wearing a lead cloak most of the time that held me down and prevented me from wanting to do anything because it was so much harder to do it. The second was how when things got bad on my bad days, I felt like I was spiraling deeper and deeper into a dark well or through dark clouds and I didn’t know if I could pull up and out or crash. I didn’t realize it until I was talking to her either.
So she was all “yep, you have depression,” and instead of giving me attention pills she gave me a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). After about 7 weeks, I started to realize that things were going to be better. First because I ended up having a classic bad day, but instead of it spiraling out of control, when it ended it was done. A couple months later I realized I was actually feeling a wider range of emotions. I got angry without it being OMG ANGRY! I got sad without it being a sob session.
Not feeling sad. Everyone feels sad sometimes. Not feeling numb, everyone feels numb sometimes. But the slow sapping of your emotions, your energy, and your sense of self.
At least that’s what it was like for me.
IF you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms like these, and if those symptoms have lasted for more than two weeks go to your family doctor. S/He will point you in the right direction.
Also know that if you EVER feel like committing suicide, unless you’re going to literally take out a half dozen Alien Xenomorphs as you go out (and I mean LITERALLY – so yeah, it’s not going to be in the cards), GO GET HELP! It gets better with help. It may take a while, but you’re just sick. You just can’t see it because the sickness literally hides itself from your brain’s ability to see it. You can get better.
No go forth and create something new.
© 2017, Joseph K Little. All rights reserved.