Understanding My Depression

I’ve been trying to find a way to describe to others what depression feels like (to me) in a way that is easy to understand. So I drew a graph which I think might help.

These are made up numbers

0 is obviously the base line. Feeling neither good or bad.

The orange line is what I feel like off my meds. Of course life isn’t that dramatic, but I hope it shows that my mood can fall with seemingly no cause. The world is ending. When I’m feeling good I can go to the other extreme as if there was never anything wrong.

The blue line is what I feel like on my meds. Still experiencing some good & bad feelings but it’s difficult to differentiate between the two, leaving me feeling generally flat. Knowing that I’m more stable compared to being off meds, but at the same time thinking what’s the point if you I don’t get to FEEL anything.

The problem is that it’s easier for everyone to remember the bad times over the good. If I could prove that I’ve had equal good and bad experiences in my life, I’d still remember the bad ones more than the good.

This is why I chose to go off my meds. I need to have feelings again. The kicker is that the kind of depression I have will be with me for life. I’ll be constantly battling the extremes of this, which plays into self destructive behaviour and self care.

If I’m having a great time then it’s easy. Just sit back and enjoy. Nothing to do here.

If I’m not having a great time I’ve usually self medicated with food, alcohol or exercise. Trying to force my mind out of its depression and back into a better place.

I never understood that there was no quick fix. Doing all of the right things is great, but you need to do the right things all of the time. And that includes giving yourself a break.

Just try and avoid the extreme version of that, which is called relapse.

My depression kept me from consistency & sustainability because I’ve never had the guts to speak out and ask someone else about their experiences and how they manage to lead a normal life in spite their battles.

Now I’m in a position where I’m willingly putting myself back into a space where these extreme highs and lows are possible again. I’m signing up for more days of instability, good and bad, because now I have the knowledge and courage to deal with it all in a healthy way.

  • Call in sick if I need to rest, even if I haven’t really done anything that would otherwise justify it.
  • Don’t give in to cravings to make me feel differently, knowing that my mind will kick my ass on the way back down.
  • Relaxing (but not removing) restrictions I’ve placed on myself, knowing that I’m not relapsing.
  • Talking about it with others about it. Knowing that if your brain is “broken” then relying only on your own perspectives is kind of stupid.
  • Persevere, knowing that you can’t just give in to it all the time.

My only true goal is to understand myself better so that if I experience something that feels like a 100 I’ll know how to reproduce it when I need to. And if I experience a -100 moment I’ll have some tools to help me make it feel like a -90 moment.

It’s exhausting and it’s scary but, for me, it’s the right thing to do.

Featured image taken from Lifehack – https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/infographic-help-you-understand-depression.html

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