As I’m recovering from my most recent breakdown, I am still surprised to see how many people don’t understand the concept of depression and mental illness. It’s no secret that I deal with major depressive disorder, as well as Prednisone-induced psychosis. Time to time, without warning, I will have crying spells and become overwhelmed with sadness, guilt and hopelessness. This last go round was so bad that my cousin and I made an 8 hour impromptu trip to Maryland to be taken care of. The red flag was when I stopped responding to messages and didn’t want to get out of bed or eat. I have been shaking, crying non stop, can’t sleep, being forced to eat, blacking out, etc…
The best way I can describe it to a non-sufferer is that you’re surrounded by dark swirling clouds. And no matter what you do, you can’t see your way out or where you’re going. You’re lost and you can’t find your way out of it. It’s very scary and you feel alone and blame yourself and that’s where suicide, substance abuse and promiscuity come into play to try to numb these feelings.
People always assume depression is just feeling sad. So, there must be something specific that’s making you sad. So when I have episodes, the first thing I get asked is “what’s wrong now?” And it makes me feel like I can’t cope with life and I’m a burden. Depression is not just sadness. It can be indecisiveness, anxiety, extreme fatigue, loss of interest in activities, oversleeping, endless feelings of guilt and hopelessness, appetite changes, mood swings, irritability, racing thoughts and excessive crying.
I think I speak for every sufferer of depression when I say we are not doing this to ourselves and you can’t just snap out of it. It’s not for attention or a bad situation. Yes, a situation can trigger depression, but it is NOT the cause of it. We are biochemically struggling to stay happy and balanced. It’s very hard to stay functional with a mind and body working against you. So the next time someone is going through, think twice before you say something to them. We never look as bad as we feel.