I've talked to quite a few people over the years who just didn't get it. I might mention that I was feeling depressed (to a family member, boyfriend, someone close) and then be asked, "What's wrong? What are you depressed about." And that's the hell of it...there is no "why" there's only "when." Depression happens; it may happen because of a specific stressor that triggers it or it might roll around of its own accord and land on my head without asking first. Either way it's frustrating. Quite honestly I don't have anything to be depressed about, but I am.
Luckily for me, I've lived with it long enough (it started rearing its ugly head when I was 9) that I know how to fight it. I know how to deal with. I know to notify the people close to me that it's here and to steer clear. How do I deal?
- Keep busy. Whether it's work, writing, driving aimlessly, or spending time with friends, I have to stay busy. I get depressed far less often and with far less drama if I'm busy. Therefore, I stay busy. Almost always.
- Write. The double edged sword is that depression makes me not want to write.
- Keep moving. Another reason this new exercise obsession is a very good thing. It helps clear my head of any self-doubt and self-destructive thoughts. Even if it's not exercise, if I can get outside my house and go somewhere, I feel much better.
What does it feel like? It feels like the worst boredom. I can't even describe it to you. I lose interest in the things I like: books, movies, socializing, being vibrant. I'm antsy. It's hard to get through my responsibilities because I would literally much rather sleep for days than do anything. Anything that can help me feel free and light is an antidote. And knowing that this cloud will pass over, I just have to get through the days (or weeks or months...usually just days at this point in my life...it was much worse when I was younger) until it lifts. I try not to think about "big picture" things. Just small things. Go for this walk. Swim for a while. Talk to a friend. Do a little work. Watch some mindless TV. Cry if it helps. Save the sleeping for the proper time of night. This feeling might be gone tomorrow.
I don't take drugs for it. I did for a while...Zoloft. But, quite honestly, it's expensive, and I don't have insurance at the moment. Learning to deal has helped a lot, and it comes around far less often than it used to. This is going to be one of the big challenges in working from home. Honestly I have far too much free time on my hands right now. Once school starts I hope it's a far less looming possibility.
Until then, I just go. "Just go" is my motto these days. I could keep this quiet and never talk about it, but I choose to keep it out in the open to some extent. Mostly because I hope someone who doesn't understand will read and get a better picture of the struggle going on in a depressed person's head. I constantly ask myself (even though I know the truth is that it just happens) "Why am I feeling this way? Why? I should just snap out of it!" Maybe my hypothetical reader's teenager or even grown child says, "Mom, I feel kind of....depressed...I think." Realize that it happens to what some people consider the most unlikely candidates. There may be a reason, or not. It's not fun, it's not glamorous, it's just confusing and hard. But, it can be dealt with in a variety of ways. It's different for everybody, but this is the way I am.