Anyone can experience depression whether it’s situational, like the COVID crisis, chronic pain or illness or having a mental illness. I have Bipolar Disorder I, which means although my moods can swing from highs to lows, most of the time I’m depressed. I was first diagnosed at 19 years old and sought advanced treatment at 28 years old after my father committed suicide. Below are a few examples of what depression has looked like for me.
Your family sends someone over to check on you since they haven’t heard from you in days/weeks
Sleep for 22 hours a day
Don’t shower for weeks
Can’t remember when you ate
Your mailbox is so full the postman stops delivering mail
Emotional eating or buying
Feel deep guilt over lying to family and friends for years trying to hide your depression
You are numb, empty inside
It’s been eight months and five new prescriptions and still no improvement
The doctor tells you if you cancel another appointment he will fire you and you almost drive off the freeway on the way home
To depressed to take your medication no matter how bad you want to
Fall so low that death must feel good
Don’t know what day it is
Drink to much
Have a detailed plan on how you will commit suicide
The normal mood is depressed, your taking medication just to get you above the line to normal happy
Taken over 50 medications or combinations of medicines
Had 21 Electro Shock Treatments
Spent multiple weeks, multiple times in Psychiatric hospital
Divorced because husband didn’t believe you were depressed
Cut off contact with everyone in an effort not to have to explain what’s going on or where you were
Lose your job on the third day because you can’t get out of bed
Don’t fill your prescriptions because you can’t drive one mile
These are a few examples of the struggles I’ve had with Bipolar Disorder for almost 40 years. The blessing is I have an exceptional Psychopharmacologist and Therapist who I’ve been seeing for over 30 years. My doctor has been tough on me, never allowed me to make excuses, and taught me how to explain my feelings in an effort to prescribe the right type of medication. He strongly recommended I seek out therapy which I did and have never looked back.
Therapy doesn’t help control my depression but allows me to process the anxiety, guilt, and emotions I have from being depressed. I also process my traumatic background with her which helps me clear any unresolved childhood events.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes you can’t even see a glimmer but there’s always light at the other end.
Please don’t try to deal with your depression alone, even if it’s situational depression, like a death or divorce, everyone needs emotional support. Go talk to someone.
Keep a log of your feelings by day the best you can in order to share those raw emotions with a Psychiatrist or Therapist. Raw feelings will help get to the root of any issue much quicker than going to an appointment saying I’m depressed without clear examples.
If your general physician is prescribing your medication and you are still experiencing depression please seek out a professional with specialized training. A general doctor doesn’t have the in-depth knowledge of medications or about ongoing depression to get you to the other side.