I have entered a lot of posts about how depression affects people from all different backgrounds. It is clear that depression does not discriminate; whether you’re a woman or man (The Man I Am, MCM – Kevin Love, and Medals and Depression) or your race (A Real Man and African Americans & Mental Health). But what is depression exactly?
According to American Psychiatric Association, depress is, “serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home” The signs of depression is obviously feeling sad or having a depressed mood. Also, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of energy or increased fatigue, increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing), or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others). Most importantly, the feeling of worthless or guilty, difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. These symptoms must occur for a minimum of two weeks to be considered depression.
Depression is the leading cause of disability between the age of 15 and 44. Those treated for depression, 80% of those, shows an improvement in symptoms within four to six weeks. However, two thirds of people with depression do not actively seek nor receive proper treatment. As of 2015, 41% of adults in the United States, received treatment for their mental health condition. As well, in 2015, 51% of children between the age of 8 and 15 received treatment for mental health condition. One in five Americans will be impacted by mental illness. We lose about as many people to suicide each year as we do to breast cancer. Depression receives 1/10 th of the funding of Motor Neuron Disease and only 1/100th of the funding that breast cancer receives annually. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15 – 44. There is one death by suicide every twelve minutes in the United States. In 2014, 42,773 died due to suicide. Each year, there are 250,000 people become suicide survivors.
As you see, I can go on and on about the statistics to display how depression really impacts our lives. Why am I telling you this information? Most people think they know the subject on depression, but many don’t. This is one of the reasons why I created this blog. So I can shed light on mental illness. Aside from the facts, numbers, and official definitions, what does depression feels like? There were quotes/memes I have found that have stood out me to describe the feeling.
Some would say, “It’s like drowning. Except you can see everyone around you breathing” Others say, “it’s feeling like you’ve lost something, but having no clue when or where you last had it. Then one day you realize what you lost is yourself”. Many would say it feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives while they are stuck in a hole they cannot climb out of. Also, others feel like they’re trapped in a bubble of overwhelming emotions. The feelings of empty and helpless, like their heart has sunken down into their stomach and it stuck there. A lot of people have their own description/interpretation on how depression makes them feel.
Personally? It’s hard for me to describe it. My depression hits me in the morning. That’s when I feel the all-time low. Once my eyes open I just think, “Shit…” Negative thoughts floods into my head like a tsunami. “You’re alive another day, huh? That sucks!” Just frustration of being alive makes me so angry and so sad that cry in rage. I think about the horrid of my past that have led me to the point I am now. I think about the shitty circumstances I am currently in. I think about about my flaws which evolves into lies that my brain falls for. “You’re dumb, you’re ugly, you’re not lovable and that’s why you’re forever be alone” Then it gets really grim. I try to picture a world without me and let me tell you, it’s not like that movie, “It’s A wonderful Life” When at the end the protagonist realize he matters. No, in my mind everybody is happy and okay. Then I picture myself on how life would be if I killed myself in that moment. I do take in consideration that everybody will be said, but I brush it off because I just think people will move on. In the morning, my depression have made it’s slave and I cannot escape.
How do I snap out of it? How do I continue on the day? I wake up knowing I’m pretty my my depression’s bitch. I let my depression have it’s way with me until it kinda tired itself out. Ever seen that Bugs Bunny cartoon when he fights a gorilla? The gorilla really let Bugs have it and Bugs keep taking the punches, until the Gorilla is exhausted and can’t keep going anymore. Once my depression is “tired” this is when I try to regain strength. How? Thinking about the goals I’m excited to achieve this year. Thinking about what I am looking forward to do for the day or the week. Basically, I think about things I’m excited about in the future.
Thinking about what happiness will come around the corner brings me hope about my day and life. It reassures me that even though my past wasn’t rainbows and butterflies, doesn’t mean I will never get to see the sun. Things are temporary and the storm will be over too. My cat Checkers licks my tears and purrs by my side. He gives me time to feel my emotions before tapping my face to get me out of bed.
Other ways I regain my strength is watching motivational videos off of YouTube, listening to music that puts me in a better mood, and reading inspiration quotes. And any quote that stands out to me the most, I love sharing it on my ONLY MICHY Instagram. Hearing and reading words of affirmation and hope readjust my dark thoughts into something positive. If all fails, then I reach out to my support system. Nothing like people who loves you to remind you that there is something to live for and that you do matter. If you’re truly alone then there is the suicide hotline (800-273-TALK – 8255).
Look, depression sucks… I get it… but it’s not impossible to manage. If you know someone who has depression, don’t be dick! Be quiet and listen. Comfort and encourage to the best of your ability. Understand that depending on the individual it can be a long process and there will be MANY ups and downs. For that, you need patience… A LOT of patience. Also, don’t take things too personally. As much you want to make the person, you cannot make the person happy. Only that individual can make themselves happy. You are part of their happiness and they love you to death, but at the end of the day it’s up to that person to fulfill their own happiness.
If you are suffering from depression, I am so sorry and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. Please know you’re not alone and they are people who are willing to help you. If you need someone to talk to, you can CONTACT ME and I will do my best to help. I have mention the suicide hotline if you need someone to talk to. Also, if you need help going through the day with you depression there are apps out there to help you out. Check out my blog entry, Mental Illness and Technology . I know this is tough, but you are tougher. You just gotta adult one day at a time!