I was one of those people that thought I would never experience depression and I never understood it. I was one of those people that said that there is always a better way to deal with things and that people are just being lazy and need to get on with things. I was one of those people that never understood suicide and why people would do that to their loved ones. I thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did. It all became very clear to me and I understand every single tiny thing about depression that I never thought even possible before I had it. I swallowed all the stupid words that came out of my mouth when I thought I knew all the answers. I am now one of those people that has and has been struggling with depression. I am now one of those people saying they wish other people understood mental health issues and would be more open to learning more about it rather than making assumptions. I have become a lot more empathetic towards others and becoming a mental health advocate is the best thing I have ever done because my tough times are a stepping stone to helping others to recover and I am so happy that I get to do that!
1. There Is No Quick Fix
Unfortunately there are some people on the other side (when I say this I mean people who have no idea what it’s like to have depression) who assume that depression can be cured by utilizing some kind of quick fix. This is very far from the truth. There is no quick fix for depression and in most cases you cannot completely cure depression but learn coping skills and use certain treatments to make you feel better. There are some cases where it can go away completely and this is usually when depression is a symptom of circumstance, for example, severe and prolonged financial difficulties and/or prolonged periods of stress resulting in complex ptsd. There is a very long road to recovery with depression and it takes a long time to heal.
2. Recovery Is Not Linear
Recovery seems pretty straight forward, right? Wrong. It is an exhausting and very long and windy road. There will be potholes, bumps, cracks and even mountains along the way. There will be ups and downs and sometimes you will take a few steps back. The important thing to remember is that this is okay. It is perfectly normal to go through all of this on the road to recovery. No one ever recovers on a clear and straight path and if they say they do I refuse to believe it. There are a lot of things to work through because sometimes we need to get to the root of the problem in order to deal with the symptom.
3. Setbacks Are Inevitable
One thing that I have noticed is that people are really hard on themselves when they have setbacks or when they relapse. We are not perfect human beings. Not one person on this planet can say that they have had an absolutely perfect life because they would have at some point run into some kind of issues or hard times. When someone is recovering from depression there will sometimes be setbacks and that is absolutely okay. Anyone not suffering from depression that knows someone that is should be patient and understanding because it is very hard to stay on the right track. I can tell you this from my own experience. It is NOT easy at all. Depression will always find a way to suck you back in. And it does. And we get back up and keep going. Often there will be a lot of setbacks and we can go right back to sleeping all day every day. Just remember that everyone is trying the best that they possibly can.
4. People Will Change Towards You
This is not a very comforting thing to know or to put out there but it is true. You will have people that will stick by you and you will have people that will leave you. You will most certainly know who really cares about you when you are going through a very bad bout of depression because those who don’t won’t bother to be supportive in the ways that matter. They will give generic responses like “hang in there” or “this too shall pass” as if that ever solved anything. The ones that care about you will keep checking on you. They will keep asking if there is anything they can do for you. They will give you space when you ask for it. They will be there when you need them to be. Some people don’t want to hear about your depression because they feel it affects them negatively. So be it. Let them go about their lives because it is better to not have that kind of person in your life. It will get lonely at some point. I had a very close friend that ended our friendship because she couldn’t handle me not wanting to talk on the phone all the time even knowing I have social anxiety disorder. Me being the person I am offered to compromise and asked her if she would sometimes text and then I would be okay with sometimes talking on the phone. Needless to say she was too selfish to be supportive and to accept that. So, I ended up having no friends and I am okay with that.
5. It’s Okay To Say No
When you are recovering from depression people can put a lot of pressure on you. Why? Because they think it will help you to leave your house or to do this or that. Honestly, other people don’t always know what is best for us. We do. And we do these things when we feel ready to do them, not when we are forced to. It just makes us feel uncomfortable which makes it worse. You do not owe anything to anyone and you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. You are allowed to say no to things you do not want to do or to events you do not want to go to. People are more than welcome to have their opinions about it. Your mental well being is more important than someone elses ego.
6. Medication Isn’t For Everyone
I will never tell anyone to stop taking medication nor will I ever tell anyone that they should not start taking medication. I want to make that very clear right from the start. Medication helps a lot of people with their depression and that is great. But for some people medication is not the answer and it can sometimes make your symptoms worse or even cause a lot of other damage when it should be making you better. I do feel that everyone has a right to choose how they recover and should not be told what they should or should not be doing in order to get better. Medication has never worked for me and has only caused more harm than good. I find that for myself there are alternative therapies that help me and I am happy to stick with that.
7. Your Perception Of Time Becomes Distorted
When you have depression you view time differently to everyone else. You can go through days and wonder where the time went. Months go by and you wonder how. Years go by and you can’t understand what you have been doing all this time. You can wake up and not know what month it is or which day of the week it is and honestly most of the time you don’t care. It can also feel like time is moving too slowly. It all just becomes one big blur. I actually tried to explain that to someone once that they couldn’t understand it. Surely time moves the same for everyone? ERm no…
8. Sleep Plays A Major Role In Depression
Sleep is very important in the recovery process. I was put on antidepressants that caused a severe sleep disorder. I thought going off the meds would make things go back to normal. I was wrong. The effects were long lasting and I was still struggling with a sleep disorder eight months after stopping the medication. When my sleeping patterns went tits up my depression flared up like it was nobodies business. The worse my insomnia got the worse my depression got and the worse my depression got the worse my insomnia got. It is a never ending cycle. I’m currently taking strong antihistamines at night to help me to sleep. Believe it or not it is the only thing that seems to work for me. I can now sleep at night and have a normal day. Believe me when I tell you that as long as you are not sleeping properly your depression will not get any better.
9. Things Can Change
When you are ready for a change then it can and will happen. When we have depression we can’t see a future for ourselves and it is very hard to even imagine any other kind of life because this is all we know now. The possibility is there and as long as there is hope then anything is possible. I have heard loads of people with depression tell me that there is no way things will change for them. It is so sad to hear someone say this. And I of all people do know how hard it is to continue to have a positive mindset. But, things can change. Believe me they can.
10. I Am Worth More Than I Think
I have realized that I am worth a lot more than I thought was. Depression gives you a very warped sense of reality and your mind plays tricks on you. Your self worth goes out the window because you think that if you have depression there must be a reason and you assume that reason is because you are not worth it. The thing is there comes a time when you know for certain that you are worth it because if you weren’t then you would not exist in the first place. Regardless of what other peoples opinions of you are, you know your own self worth. You do not need a lot of friends or a huge following on social media to prove that to yourself.