If you’ve followed me since my Tralisty days, you’ll know that I’ve been very open with my mental health issues. I’ve struggled a lot over the past couple of years (early in 2019 being the worst it’s ever been), but here are a few things I’ve learned from depression.
It’s tricky to explain
If you’re trying to explain depression to someone who hasn’t experienced depression, it’s like trying to tell someone about how it felt to break your ankle. They’ll be able to imagine it, but they won’t really understand.
Sometimes, you’re just really sad and everything feels grey; sometimes it feels overwhelming; sometimes you can carry on with life and then be punched in the gut by depression and that’s all you can think about.
People expect you to look depressed
I am very high-functioning. This means that I can get on with my day and look like I’m fine, then I’ll get home and hide under the duvet because I’m exhausted.
Some people really struggle, and they can’t bring themselves to smile, nothing eases the darkness. Yes, I get like that sometimes, but it’s rare. People have actually said “no way, I would never have guessed!” when I tell them that I’ve suffered with depression for 14 years.
Medication doesn’t make you happy
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have medication for your mental health issues, then I’m really sorry. It’s tough, isn’t it?
Anti-depressants don’t make you happy, they make you less depressed. They actually make it quite difficult to feel anything intensely. I can feel everything but it’s like the tablets round off the edges. Instead of intense happiness when I see my little nieces and nephew, it’s like there’s a sheet over the emotion to dull it down a little.
It’s difficult to concentrate
Oh my goodness, this is the most important bit! It’s SO hard to concentrate sometimes! Brain fog is real and it’s almost impossible to get past.
I love my bullet journal but I can’t even face it right now. I can sit down with it in front of me and not even know where to start. It’s also the reason why my blog posts can be a bit sporadic. I can sit down with the intention to write posts and words just don’t come out.
People will give you advice
I cannot even tell you how many people have suggested cures for my depression: reiki, yoga, books, exercise, cutting out sugar…
That’s not how it works.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain, and yes these things can help, but it won’t be cured by Downward Dog (can you tell I don’t do yoga?!)
It’s really difficult when people offer advice and people often do it out of love and respect, but I can promise you that medication is the best thing for me right now. It gives me a fighting chance of getting through the tough times.
it’s ok to not be ok!!
This is the biggest one.
You will feel guilty for not feeling how you think you should feel; you’ll feel upset that you can’t do what you used to; you’ll kick yourself for spending your weekend in bed because you should’ve done something “useful”. It’s ok to not be ok!
Listening to your body is the best thing you can do, just try and look after yourself. Being in bed for a day is ok, but try and get up and move to the sofa – change of scenery can help give you a bit of energy back. Make sure you drink water and have a real meal.
If you struggle with your mental health (or even if you don’t!) keep these things in mind as you go about your normal day.
What do you wish people knew about depression?