It’s been a long time since I was diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features. I also had PTSD which amplified the depression. I am very far removed from the disorder and this in itself is quite the description. It is very insidious, you don’t feel like yourself, a dark cloud has covered over you and there is no escape. Many days, it was a struggle to just get out of bed and participate in life. I became a shell of a person that I no longer recognized. I certainly didn’t want friends or family to see me this way. Then the haze with medication and feeling like a zombie who can’t feel a thing. I went from feeling everything and deep sadness to numbness and apathy about anything and everything. It was hard to even look at myself in the mirror. I’d see someone who I barely recognized.
People went on with their lives. They had to keep going. Not many people knew what to do or how to help. Even the professionals would ask me out of courtesy, “What do you need?” Gee, if I knew that, I’d not be here, now would I? I can look back now and laugh but at the time, it scared me because I really hoped they had the answer for me. There is not a simple answer for those who struggle with depression or any mental illness because people get it for different reasons. However, there are some ways to lessen it’s impact:
Talk about it
Spend time with loved ones
Do the things you enjoy
Watch silly shows
Attend support group
Attend laughter clubs
Show up for life
Spend time in nature
My biggest mistake was allowing the mental illness label to define me. I wore it like the finest dress. I didn’t realize it took more than just taking meds and talk therapy to get out of it. I had to do some deep thinking about why I had gotten here in the first place. Life is a great balancer. Sometimes we take on too much stress and it stops us in our tracks to get our attention. It’s just temporary stop though, like a red light, it’s not meant to stay parked there long term. Find out what’s missing in your life to bring it into balance.
Some of my suggestions will seem very difficult because at times it feels like you’re wearing weighted boots. It can be hard to get moving. However, it’s one baby step at a time. Be grateful for each one. Also, practice gratitude for the people in your life and the opportunities that come way. By all means, let go of toxic people who bring you down. Above all, love yourself! Honor your life, be true to you and keep believing in you! You are worth it. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel.
My next blog post is going to be on happiness and what’s on the other side of that tunnel!