(Updated) What Depression Looks Like

Anyone can experience depression whether it’s situational, like the COVID crisis, chronic pain, illness, or mental illness. I have Bipolar Disorder, 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 but didn’t seek treatment until 28 years old after my father committed suicide.

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

Drink to much

Have a detailed plan on how you will commit suicide

The normal mood is depression, you are taking medication just to get you above the line to normal happy

Taken over 60 medications or combinations of medicines

Had 21 Electro Shock Treatments

Spent multiple weeks, multiple times in a 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 40 years. The blessing is I have an exceptional Psychopharmacologist and Therapist who I’ve been seeing for 30 plus 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.

There is light

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 me 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.

A Psychopharmacologist is the best type of doctor if you have long-term or complex depression. They are a Psychiatrist with extra years of training in brain function among other things. The reason he has meant so much to me is he can determine what part of my brain needs stimulation and can prescribe very specific medications. They are more expensive and your insurance may not pay the entire amount but it’s worth every penny. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for my doctor.

If you don’t suffer from long-term depression I would start with a Psychiatrist and go from there.

Melinda

15 comments

  1. I went through one major depression when I was 17. I would not wish that to my worst ennemy. The emptiness, the shame, the sadness, the hopelessness. ..I was so scared to go through it again but thankfully, it did not happen.
    And agree with Leigh, education about it is so important. It could be less difficult for us if we had information about what is happening and not feel so strange and isolated.
    My heart goes out to you and I’m glad you are better now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad your’s was not lingering depression. it could have been something happening in your life or hormone related. Depression sucks! Shame is one of the biggest hurdles for me in the past, but now I’ve come to terms with the reality of my illness. Thanks for your comments. Have a great day.

      Like

  2. Hello, I have RA and have been using a wheelchair for years now. I use to do landscaping and build water gardens. I miss that but do plenty of container gardening on my deck. I experienced depression for a short time a few years ago. It was the most terrifying experience I ever had in my entire life. It disappeared right after I stopped taking a certain medications. I never want that feeling again, I’ll take the wheelchair any day. Prayer is all we can do for you and your family, and kind words sent your way. My best regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you got better. Certain meds can cause all kinds of havoc with our bodies. Mental Health meds are famous for their side effects. I don’t have a choice, take my meds, have a positive attitude if possible and make sure I’m not falling too far down. Thanks for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have given a perfect description. This has been my daughter and thanks to the right doctor and the right treatment, she is so much better. I get it, and I realize it is hard for people who have never experienced depression or had a family member with it to understand the cycle of symptoms. Education is so important. Thanks for sharing such an important message. Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments and so glad your daughter is on the right meds now. It’s a daily journey and there are days we have to accept we have little to no control over it. I hope she has a great doctor who can keep her level.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you and yes she does have a great doc who is very open to latest treatments. Ketamine treatments have worked well for her severe depression as well as finally getting the right med combo. You are so right that it is a journey! Stay strong friend! 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

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