Some days I’m just not sure how to separate my thoughts out into coherent sentences and ideas. They all jumble together and like a single noodle in a bowl of spaghetti I unsuccessfully try to pull out the thoughts I have worth exploring. With that said, I will attempt to muddle together this post I have been thinking about so that I can share it with you. Lately, I have been thinking about depression and how deeply debilitating it can be. I understand what it feels like to want to spend all day in bed and to feel directionless or without purpose. Those are some tough feelings to cope with, let alone face and work through.
Those who suffer from depression usually experience a myriad of symptoms including*:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
- Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
- Thoughts of suicide or death
My apologies for the minor “school lesson” I’m posting here. What I’m getting to is this: depression is so debilitating because ultimately what it comes down to is feeling like your life is worthless. I mean, look at those symptoms! The picture those symptoms paint is one of despair and hopelessness. A part of me completely and totally understands depression. Not only have I been depressed myself, I often intuitively feel for other people, and wow is there a lot of sadness in the world. If I really sit down to consider how deeply horrifying people can be, how poorly we can (and do) treat one another, and the pains we suffer during even the average day to day it’s no wonder 19 million Americans have depression.
More than half of the people who suffer from depression never seek treatment because they either think they can treat themselves, believe themselves to be weak, or deny that they have a serious problem. But that’s the thing about depression: it’s this vicious cycle that’s surprisingly difficult to get out of. How do you begin to make good decisions if you’re too sad to make decisions? How do you become motivated to pursue something if you aren’t sleeping enough and feel empty inside?
And here we have another one of the major problems with America: we don’t like to collaborate with one another. We focus so much on individuality and independence that we can’t even ask for help anymore without feeling like a failure. Asking for help is courageous and people are smarter, more thoughtful, and exceptionally more creative when they work together than when they work alone. It’s the same for handling life’s most difficult days, and there are a lot of difficult days. Happiness is fleeting, but you know what’s not? A support system or those crazy friends and family who may drive you crazy sometimes, but love you more than you’ll ever know. The point my friends, is to turn to your loved ones. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and honest and openly sad because it’s much much better than trying to keep it all to yourself. Our hurts were never meant to be terminated on ourselves or we’d all inwardly implode.
*Thanks Mental Health America for the info.