What Depression Looks Like

Mental health is so complex and hard to understand. I have been struggling with my mental health for as long as I can remember. After therapy, medication, and just giving up for quite some time, I have just recently started to understand my mental health and how to take care of myself. 

Medication can change lives when its given to the right person, but it wasn’t for me. 

Therapy is great and I think everyone should talk to someone, but personally, therapy made me dependent on a doctor to make my anxiety and depression go away when I should be looking to myself for that strength. 

Depression exists in so many different ways. You could see someone everyday, have a full length conversation, and not know that they are struggling. 

The stereotype that we have come to believe as a true depiction of the disease is more along the lines of sleeping all day, not having proper hygiene, and just being sad all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, depression CAN look like this, but its not a one size fits all type of deal. 

I have personally struggled with depression since the young age of 13, and at the beginning, it was a lot of sleeping, not showering, and giving up food altogether. 

Over the years, the symptoms have changed so many times I honestly couldn’t give you an accurate description of what it is like to be clinically depressed. I will say that it has fooled me into a false sense of safety more than once. 

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

When you get up to shower, or only take a two hour nap instead of 4, you think you’re getting better. I have gone weeks thinking I have suddenly been cured, because things are going well around me and my mood is up, I think Im okay. 

Then comes the harsh reality that everything is in fact, not okay. I have a bad day and here we are, taking two steps back. 

It can take me weeks to realize how bad things are getting. For example, something happened over the summer and I thought I was okay…I made a lot of excuses for my actions during this time *a red flag* like eating whatever I wanted or not doing anything productive for days, it took me three months to actually make my bed. 

It wasn’t until I started really focusing on my blog, that I realized I had fallen back into old habits just with new patterns, so I couldn’t see the warning signs.

Ive been working on my blog for over a year, I recently relaunched and started taking it more seriously. I make a schedule and spend a lot of time building my brand. 

When I have something to look forward to or a routine to keep, things are easier. So naturally, starting a stable job, building my online brand, and having friends to hang out with regularly I started keeping up with my other responsibilities I ignore when I am struggling. 

The other day I did laundry and actually hung up my clothes, and even made my bed. Let me tell you it felt SO GOOD. 

See when I am in a really bad place I know I eventually have to do the things I avoid, but my brain gets so overwhelmed it just shuts down. This happens even when things are going great, I just have more strength to keep my thoughts together.  

Its funny, when I have my moments, and oh do I have my moments, people who don’t know about my past mental health issues are surprised. 

Its not that they are bad friends or anything, they simply don’t see me when I am at my worst so its hard for them to acknowledge my mental health issues when I am at my best. 

The biggest issue with depression is we, as in society, don’t see it as a problem until its someone threatening their life of others. We ignore a lot of the small signs because we have a twisted idea of what depression is supposed to look like. 

I am going to get deep here for a second so bear with me *trigger warning* when someone kills themselves, the first thing people say is normally along the lines of “we had no idea, they were always so happy” my favorite one is “they always lit up every room they walked into” 

A huge misconception is that when you’re depressed, you cant be up-lifting…let me tell you I have had so many moments where I am ready to break down and cry but I put on a smile and make everyone else laugh.

People have no idea because they aren’t inside that persons thoughts, they don’t know what its like when that person is alone. 

I can be genuinely happy in a room full of people, and go home and cry myself to sleep.  

I will say, as much anxiety as I have had over the past 6 months, I don’t think I have ever been happier and truthfully…thats terrifying. 

I think the biggest hurdle is letting yourself be happy again. I know it sounds sad but its true. It takes so much of me to let myself be happy, I am always worried that something will ruin it. 

When I was younger and my crush would text me my heart would jump…now my heart jumps when I get any text notification, and its not in a good way. 

What my depression looks like, may not be the same for someone else. Thats why you always have to be conscious of how you treat others, you never know what they are going through. 

If you are ever worried about someones mental health do not force them to “talk” to you and definitely don’t say “I’m here if you need me” the amount of times I have actually believed someone when they said that and then they weren’t there when I needed them is crazy.

Basically, don’t give any empty promises, because someone will take them as genuine and be crushed when you change your mind. 

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

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