Living with depression
Living with depression isn’t easy – it’s hard and can beat you down. Unfortunately, and this may sound harsh, but until you’ve actually experienced and lived with depression then it’s very hard to actually understand how tough and life changing it can be.
We’ve all had moments where we feel low: a sense of tiredness, frustration at life events we can’t control a lack of money or annoyed at the reactions of others – we’re all affected in different ways by different things.
I’ve had all these too, but depression is on a different level – to use a football analogy, your jumping from the reserves straight into the first team playing at home in the Champions League.
I also feel depression is something of a taboo subject.
If someone breaks an arm or cuts their hand, it’s something people can see and relate too. They will ask how you are. But with depression, as it’s something not many people really understand (and I used to be in this group), people seem either reluctant or unsure how to ask someone about their depression. And to be honest, it can be equally as hard to openly talk about it too.
Quite often, you won’t even know if someone suffers from it – I’m personally not someone who will advertise all my illnesses publicly on social media, partly because I feel that this can come across as attention seeking but also because there are people who are far worse off than me and I think “will know one is going to be interested in my problems anyway, so I may as well just keep quiet and get on with it.”
Keeping it in can be hard – at times you just want to shout and explode with all the anger, loneliness and frustration that’s built up inside you. And then if you do show that it’s affecting you, you worry (as I do in my case) that you will come across as weak and that you can’t cope. Some people will also then talk to you in an almost pitying voice, like their talking to a 5yr old and tell you not to worry, it will pass. This is probably one of the worse things you can say. Actually, if your reading this your probably thinking “I can’t win – does he want to talk about it or not?”!
So how does it feel to have depression? There are plenty of articles online that probably explain this far better than I could, but even so here are my own experiences. The 3 things that I feel affected me were the most were:
A loss of interest in things in things and stuff that before had brought me pleasure – they became almost joyless, as if I was just going through the motions. I just constantly though “what’s the point”? I didn’t want to go out, play video games, read, watch TV or anything else. Going to the gym and football used to be my ‘release’ after a week at work, but even they became more of a chore than anything else.
Tiredness: I don’t sleep very well anyway but I’m averaging about 4-5hrs a night and this has been going on for a few years now. When you consider that it’s recommended you aim for at least 7hrs a night… that’s pretty bad and is a good case of sleep deprivation, which in itself can bring a whole host of health problems. I feel constant fatigue and tiredness and both mentally and physically drained. I really have to concentrate on even small things and it can really affect my speech. I used to go to speech therapy when I was younger and still have a lot of problems now. I have to really concentrate on this and it becomes almost a daily grind just to have conversations with people. I sometimes do tours at work and these can be leave me exhausted. For a while I was relying on sugar free Red Balls (because obviously being sugar free makes all the difference!) and this wasn’t good, as they taste gross and are just a mixture of caffeine and chemicals.
Hopelessly: You live and walk around with a constant feeling of hopelessness and dread, always expecting the worse to happen and if he doesn’t? Well, it will anyway eventually. You feel you’re not good enough for anything or anyone and that you’re constantly letting people down. We all make mistakes and I always tend to tell people not to worry if they do as these things happen. But when I made the mistake, I instantly thought everyone would be commenting on it and I would send e-mails and go round to people saying sorry, when in truth there really was no need.
There are many other examples but theses’ are the 3 that spring to mind.
In more general terms, you walk round with a constant cloud over you. I likened it to being in a storm at sea: every now and then some sun will shine through and you think everything will be ok, but it soon closes and you’re in an almost constant sea of darkness and loneliness. When people do learn you suffer from depression (or anxiety which I also have – I know, I’m just being greedy now!), they tend to say you don’t seem depressed – it’s because you become very good, very quickly, at hiding it and putting on an act. The only person who truly knows how I feel and what I go through is my girlfriend – the rest of time I walk round with a mask on and aside from a few very close friends I don’t think anyone really knows what kind of person I actually am.
So there you go – a small insight into what living with depression is like. I got diagnosed almost 2yrs ago and I guess I’ve learnt to live with it which may or may not be a good thing, I really don’t know. As I’ve shown it is hard and reading back over what I’ve written, this still doesn’t do justice to how bad depression is.
I’m lucky that I have a girlfriend who is also my soul mate and best friend and has been there for me during this time, which has helped but even then I have sometimes become irritable and snappy for no fault of hers. I sometimes feel like depression is the annoying friend who invites themselves round at the most inappropriate times!
Like I said at the beginning – it is hard and tough, and will beat you down. There are times when you just want to stay in bed and there have been times when I’ve had to really fight not to let it completely take over.
There is help out there and it can be tough to taking that first step and seeking help. At the very least, find someone you can truly trust and speak to them – it’s a start and it will help, I promise.
If you want to leave me any feedback then please feel free to do so. You can contact me here or on twitter @dangooner1977
Thanks for taking the time to read, it’s appreciated.