You may have seen my previous post about my experience of depression, well I started writing this post before that one, and it’s a little list of the things I only wish people understood about how depression affects me.
1: Feeling numb
I’ve come to learn that having depression also means I have periods where I feel nothing at all, and become numb to what is happening around me, though not by choice. I would willingly take a day where I feel something; sadness, anger… any negative emotion over a day where I feel nothing at all. The numbness makes me question if I’m broke more than a week of sadness. I experience situations and know in my head that I should be able to feel something but sometimes I don’t – I may have feelings about it in the days afterwards, which makes it a little difficult if it’s too late to respond to something.
2: Processing big news is not always easy
Part of feeling numb, or not being sure at all as to how I should feel or react to a situation also means that I can struggle to process larger situations. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still keep calm, but that’s also me internally taking a step back from the situation and trying to fully understand what is going on and what/how I feel about it. There was a Friday back in autumn when I two pretty huge things happened on the same day (within 45 minutes of each other if we’re being precise), and I spent the whole weekend just sitting about trying to get my head around it all. When this happens I often react in a way that I think would be normal for the situation because that seems better than not reacting at all.
3: Self care
The slight irony is that now I care for myself more than I ever did before having depression. I recognise more when I’m at a low ebb, when I’m stressed and when I’m about to eat a whole pack of cream eclairs far better and sooner than I ever did before. Into my weekly routine I’ve built in time to ensure that I look after myself and take time to reflect and recharge, that might be spending time with friends, exercising or doing a quick face mask (#SelfcareSundays). Taking time to look after myself is probably the most important lesson I have learnt in all this and a really valuable one moving forward.
4: I tire easily
It isn’t anything personal, that is unless you are actually terrible company, but from time to time I get tired pretty easily and quickly, both with and without company. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, or the things we’re doing it just means I need a break and a rest. Previously I would have demonstrated the fine art of the Irish goodbye, however now I’m better at admitting when I’m done.
5: Spread the love
I’d like to think that I’ve always been a kind and compassionate person, but since I’ve had depression I hope that this is even more so now. Post-diagnosis and having been through a course of cognitive behavioural therapy I am definitely better at noticing my own low moods and I think I am also better at noticing it in others too. If I could do anything for people who are feeling a bit low that would cheer them up in the slightest or put a smile on their face then I’ll do it, because why wouldn’t you?
You can find more information out about mental health, including spotting the signs, and how to support someone with mental health problems here.