one of the most insidious things about depression is it doesn’t ‘feel’ like depression. even when you have it, you know you have it, you’ve been diagnosed—you still find yourself thinking, no, nope, this isn’t it, can’t be. it’s like the mental illness equivalent of that knight in monty python that keeps going ‘it’s a flesh wound! i’m fine, really! this is just a scratch, i’ll be up in a moment!’ even after all his limbs have been hacked off and he’s lying there helpless.
one of the most common narratives around it is that no one realizes they have depression until they start checking off what they consider to be normal aspects of their lives—and personal character flaws— against the checklist for depression symptoms. really key symptoms include:
- lack of motivation
- constant tiredness, even exhaustion
- finding no pleasure or satisfaction in activities they used to like, or that they know should feel good
- not seeing the point of doing anything
- increased and even unmanageable anxiety and fearfulness
any one of these symptoms drains away your ability to do work, cope with setbacks, overcome difficulties, or stop procrastinating. multiple symptoms create a pretty perfect storm of intertia and anxious self-loathing. you stop doing anything because it’s hard to get going, unpleasant while you’re at it, and afterwards there’s no reward. why bother, right? and when you’re always tired you get conservative of what little energy you can manage, and when you only feel emotions on the ‘empty to miserable’ spectrum you get really aversive to making mistakes. the whole mess very quickly and very insidiously loads every single thing in your life with toxic emotional baggage.
and then someone says to you— or you say to yourself, ‘stop being lazy’. and that haunts you forever. because you’re lazy! the work is so easy. everyone else does it. everyone but you, you lazy asshole, lying around all day not doing this totally easy thing that you should be able to but aren’t. you don’t have depression! of course not. mental illness is for victims, is for blameless innocent people who can’t be blamed for being so understandably sick. but you can be blamed. you have a character flaw, and it’s getting worse by the minute.
and that is how people who have been diagnosed, who have been medicated, who have been through therapy, can still spend all day hiding in bed and chewing themselves up over their failure to just somehow magically be a good, healthy, useful person, instead of treating themselves to a sick day and saying ‘yup! it’s depression. i need to be kind to myself.’
Sorry for the non-sims post on my simblr, but this is really really good and I want lots of people to see it, plus we simmers seem to be rather prone to being crazy so perhaps some of you guys will be interested. :)
I want to add to this. When you have depression it’s not a rational illness. It’s not like you can rationally say ‘Oh I’ve got depression therefore this, this and that’. It hits you in your emotions - often long before you recognise that it has. It can go on for weeks eroding your self-esteem, fun, alertness, cognition before you recognise what’s happening. By that time, being kind to yourself it’s already too late. You don’t have the emotional energy for it, so like an insomniac, you hit yourself with the equivalent of caffeine to keep you up to your tasks during the day - because self-abuse does give you impetus to move. However… it’s taking water from a drying well, and then when the well is empty there’s nothing left. You’re a husk that depression inhabits. If you’re medicated or you’re familiar with it, you can train yourself or be trained to recognise the signs and go ‘Yup this is depression’. But if you’re a first-timer it go for years until some kind soul actually points it out to you. So if you’re finding things are getting less fun, you’d prefer to stay at home alone than go out (and you’re an extrovert) - then go to a gp.
Other signs of depression:
1. Sleeping disturbance - under or over sleeping.
2. Weight disturbance - losing/gaining weight… when you haven’t been trying to do either.
3. Noise sensitivity - Loud noises startle you.
4. Cognition disturbance - loss of concentration, thinking through fog
5. Emotional Disturbance - short temper, anxious, numbness, sadness, over-reaction to emotional events.
According to the professionals, any 3 of these signify depression - so you don’t even have to feel sad to have depression. Sadness = depression is the biggest myth in the mental health world.
So if your friend isn’t enjoying life the way they used to, and have no good reason why - get them to a gp. You’ll spot it before they do.
BTW - I’ve had depression since I was in my teens and am now 52 - so this is coming from MY experience. It may be different to others, but I suspect that it’s not that different. :)
Reblogging for awareness.