Over the last few weeks, I have been catching up on my Google Reader. As I’ve skimmed and soaked in 1000+ blog posts over the last 3 months, I’ve found a common theme: depression. I read posts on Mormon Women Project, Blog Segullah, Mormon Mommy Blogs, FMH, Melancholy Smile, and other sites I love. I felt like these authors were speaking my language. Depression is my disease.
According to the DSM-IV, the following symptoms may occur with depression:
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with feelings of worthlessness, sadness, inadequacy, and poor self image. I had an extremely hard time making friends as a child, preferring to spend time alone rather than try to fit in. In 1992, the song “Creep” by Radiohead was released. I felt the lyrics so passionately:
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
when I’m not around
You’re so very* special
I wish I was special
But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doin’ here?
I don’t belong here
I have struggled with diagnosed clinical depression since I was 16. I have always been an emotional and empathetic person. I am a moral perfectionist, always wanting to the right thing and to singlehandedly solve the world’s problems. I feel others’ pain and sadness. Even when my circumstances aren’t dire, I tend to feel so deeply of others’ struggles that I felt drained of my happiness. Sometimes my depressive episodes are are more cataclysmic than others, but usually I am able to function.
My first depressive episode spawned from qualifying for the state drama meet my sophomore year of HS, but having my drama teacher tell me that I couldn’t go. The principal wanted to limit attendees to one bus. It made me cry uncontrollably to the point I had to go home from school. And then I cried for the better part of a month, feeling so out of control. I met with my doctor, who said that my emotional state was more than an “episodic depression,” it was clinical depression.
Then throw in the times that I was depressed while pregnant, depressed post-partum, depressed when my ex-husband abused me for 4 years, depressed after my divorce, etc. Last summer the depression was so bad that I lost my job because I couldn’t function at work. I spent two months in bed, trying to overcome the dark void that I perceived my life to be. Then I got a new counselor, got on the right meds, made small attainable goals, and pulled myself out slowly. I still struggle everyday, but I’ve learned some wonderful coping mechanisms for getting by on a day-to-day basis.
Other than pills and counseling, my greatest relief comes from spending time with friends and loved ones. When I’m alone, I get down on myself. When I’m with others, I feel like I’ve got the whole world to give away to others. I treat myself to “happy-cations” where I plan out activities for myself where bad thoughts are not allowed. Whether it be time with a BFF, snuggling up with a good book in a quiet house, or treating myself to a cupcake with a neighbor, my “happy-cations” make such a big difference.
I’m grateful that others are willing to put out their depression struggles and stories in their blogs. It seems like blogging about depression is like a 12-step meeting…even through depression is not an addictive choice. Would anyone like to join my chapter of Depressed Bloggers Anonymous?Tags: depression, Health, Life