Things I Wish I Was Told When Diagnosed With Depression
All of my remembered life I have been depressed. Therefore, depression feels deeply entwined with my identity. Most of that time I felt ashamed of being depressed and, therefore, ashamed of who I was. This is the tragic nature of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Because of the stigma, I thought I was alone, and, that I should keep my symptoms to myself for the benefit of others.
I can only speak to my feelings and experiences of depression, but it feels important to normalize some of the realities of mental illness I faced. I think it would have served me greatly to understand these components of depression earlier in my diagnosis. I am not clinically an expert, but, I have spent 10 years living with and navigating this diagnosis. As such, I have compiled some of the things I wish someone had told me when I first became depressed.
- It’s scary to lose a feeling of connection to your dreams.
- There’s a dull, aching numbness that comes from looking at something beautiful and feeling indifferent.
- Even when I experience excitement for the progress and successes of those around me, it’s really painful to watch the world go on when I feel like I can’t.
- Sometimes my thoughts are wrong.
- My feelings are never wrong, but, they may be a byproduct of distorted thinking.
- Managing mental illness is never linear and it can feel really devastating when the valleys arrive.
- Sometimes I will feel unbearably scared.
- The genetic component to my disorder will make me more vulnerable to major depressive episodes due to external triggers.
- My depression will wear different masks, exhibit different symptoms, and I will not always be able to detect its presence using the same criteria.
- Managing mental illness is exhausting.
- I am often my greatest obstacle.
- Depression and trauma are often accompanied by somatic expressions of these experiences.
- I will often be asked to choose life when I really don’t want to.
- Psychiatric facilities in hospitals can be really scary.
- People will feel frustrated by my symptoms at times, especially those that have chronic nature.
- Some people won’t be able to sustain a relationship with me, romantic or otherwise, due to my illness.
- I will have to live my life differently than I may want to.
- I will often be met with doubt when it comes to the validity of my statements.
- Sometimes I will simply have a day.
- Not all depression is the same. Try not to feel discouraged when methods that are useful to others are not for you.
- Waking up and surviving can be an incredible accomplishment.
- People whose intentions are to help you may not be actually doing so. It’s okay to let those people go.
- A medical or psychiatric doctor’s arrogance has the potential to be dangerous.
- No one is going to “fix” me.
- Try not to be too preoccupied by the fact that a major role I will play in life is that of a patient.
- It’s really brave to communicate when I am having the urge to cope with maladaptive behaviors.
- An absence of feeling, numbness, and indifference hurts in a different kind of way.
- Treasure laughter.
- My unexpressed feelings will not vanish. If I eliminate verbal expression, I will likely find myself communicating behaviorally.
- Normality is a social construct. I must try not to feel discouraged that my path deviates from the norm.
- My maladaptive coping mechanisms came to be as a protective measure. Try to have compassion for them.
- I must try, even when my brain insists I shouldn’t, to have compassion for myself.
I hope that through sharing my experience, even one person can feel slightly more understood. Living with depression is inherently difficult, but, I believe the more we talk about it, the more we shed the stigma, the more bearable it becomes. I believe we can all learn to combat our depression, but, it’s a lot easier if we do it together.Tags: adolescent depression, depressed, depression, depression symptoms, depression tips, living with mental illness, mental health, mental illness