((TLDR listed at the end))
I find every day that depression is so much more subtle and quiet than I first thought when I was dealing with it. Of course, how I’ve started to deal with my emotions over the last year has drastically changed. Including getting into therapy and starting to take medication. Which reminds me I need to pick up my other new medication tomorrow. It’s supposed to help with the depression side of things but we shall see.
Depression has been such a constant companion throughout my life that I am not sure if I really know what it means to be actually happy or ecstatic for any period of time. There are moments don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my new boyfriend, and our adventures up into the hills and the mountains is what has helped me maintain over the last month and a half. However, I do not want to shoulder him the burden that I have been carrying. Yes, a partner should be able to help you with what ails you, but they shouldn’t be a crutch as it’s not fair to either party. Meaning the one party that is suddenly shouldering the burden may fall into the step of depression themselves, and that is not something I want to have happen. I digress.
Over the last year I have felt my depression start to get quieter, like it’s trying to become sneaky. I don’t like it. It’s like that portion of my brain is trying to figure out how to survive and continue and so it’s dodging around, dancing like a fox around a trap that it knows is under the leaves but can’t quite tell WHERE the trap is. It only hopes to avoid the trap, but is always inevitably ensnared.
This is what it’s like to contend with depression on a day to day basis as well. Some days I wake up and it’s there, looming at the foot of my bed, or like the weight of a blanket I don’t ever remember pulling on. A weight that feels like it could put you down through the mattress and restrain you to the floor. It’s not a pleasant thing. Other days I wake up feeling fine, feeling good even, but once I’m awake and start walking around, it starts to seep in, almost from the tops of my shoulders, like someone trying to pull me down and onto the floor. So I’ll stay there never to get up again. Some days, rare ones, I’m ok all day, pleasant and happy even at times. Those days have been much less rare recently with the start of a new relationship with my best friend Chris. With a little bit of luck, open communication and time I’m hoping that those happy days will continue for a very long time.
As a side note to everything regarding depression, some of the things that relieve my depression, or at least help me avoid it:
Sleep: Cause you can’t feel when you’re asleep right? Wrong. At least when you dream like I do. Then your brain can actually manifest scenarios to match how you’re feeling. It sucks. But at least I don’t have to actively deal with it being awake…
Working Out: Something I need to get back to. It’s been far too long since I went into the gym on a regular basis. I have at least been getting out into the mountains for some trail hiking as well as being able to go on bike rides and the like with Chris. Being active is mainly the goal.
Cups of Tea: Tea, or any warm drink really, can be such a balm on frazzled nerves. Or something good and cold in the summer. Really anything to just help me relax. Booze doesn’t do it. So I don’t have to worry about falling into that trap. Thankfully.
Essential Oils: Lavender and mint are my two favorite smells, ever. Not to mention they’ve been proven to have relaxation side affects on people. Anything that makes you relaxed and happy is a good thing folks.
Snuggles: ’nuff said. But seriously, touch and connection and the feelings of being wanted can help a person so much.
So now that we’ve looked at a couple of things I can do. Let’s look at what I normally do when I’m depressed.
SLEEP, BITCH WHINE MOAN, FEEL LIKE LIFE ISN’T THE PLACE FOR ME. COMPLAIN because nothing is gonna get better. Because im a failure at everything. I don’t have anything to show for blah blah blah fucking blah. It get’s ridiculous.
The cruel internal dialog that starts in ones mind can swiftly get out of control, and generally with me it does wind up getting so out of control that I’m rendered unable to perform simple tasks. There’s no point. I want to stand there with arms slack at my side, gazing off into the distance and pretend that I am less important than a tree. Less important than a simple blade of grass in a field.
When these bouts of depression strike, sometimes they’re triggered through my PTSD as almost a defense mechanism to the immediate fright and need to get away from everything and everyone. Just turn inward. (Which if it happens too harshly is where you get other personalities from. Personalities that have split in order to get away from whatever bad thing is happening.)
At that point there isn’t any “letting it go.” and if anyone tells me to just “let it go” I want to put their face through the three next walls. If it were that easy I would have already done it. but it’s a chemical ride that my brain is providing that I have absolutely no control over when I get off of the ride.
Things other people can do to help me:
-If you notice I all of a sudden turn into a rage cat, please understand I’m likely not ok. I’m likely trying to be as fierce as possible in order to shove everyone out of my way so I can figure out how to get out of whatever situation I’m in at the time. Don’t just assume I’ve suddenly turned into a bitch for no reason. Every animal has a reason they growl. Humans are no different.
-Give me space, or if it can be provided, a quiet space to retreat to for a while. You’ll likely find me passed out in under 10 minutes if I get to said safe space. The quickest way I know how to reset everyone is via nap. Naps are good. Naps are like on off buttons and I can at least get a new personality to the helm to try to deal with whatever is going on or has likely passed by the time I’m awake again.
-Bring me tea with cream.
-Ask if I need to eat.
-Don’t tell me to get over it.
-Don’t tell me to try to muscle through. By the time other people start to notice when I’m in trouble, I’ve been in trouble for a while and it means I have NO more energy to keep going. I’m stubborn. I’ll go until I can’t and by that time, I literally can’t anymore.
-Give me single tasks at a time.
-Don’t give me an entire list of things you have planned for the next month, or even the next week. I’ll freak out. My brain will assume it all has to be done immediately.
Depression is a sneaky unwanted friend that looms around every corner. I know I’m going to run into it and there’s nothing I can do about it. Have courtesy and be gentle to those who are dealing with depression. By the time you notice it, we’ve likely been suffering for a long time already. Ask your friends what you can do to help perk them up, or support them through a depressive bout. They will be eternally grateful for your efforts.