I have a habit of pushing myself until breaking point. I don’t realise that I’m being too hard on myself or running myself ragged until I’m so deep in anxiety I snap and run for cover. It’s taken a long time, but I’ve finally begun to accept that I have depression.
Depression isn’t new to me. Years ago, I was depressed. Bad. I received warnings for all of my classes because I was missing too many tutorials, I was staying up late and sleeping until 4pm and I was deliberately avoided spending time with people. Back then I felt hopeless and unmotivated. Eventually I dragged myself to the doctor and was put on medication. A few months later I moved house, got a job, and to top it all off I got a boyfriend. I felt great and I was pulled out of my depression with medical help and a change of environment and perception.
Today, I have a different kind of depression. It’s one of the reasons I had such difficulty accepting it was here.
Depression comes in many different forms and nobody experiences the same symptoms. Depression does not discriminate. Rich or poor, successful or struggling, none of us are immune.
My first round of depression was a time of struggle. Now, I am the most accomplished and self accepting version of myself. I am still depressed.
This depression is based in anxiety. I am irritable and unmotivated, almost always worried about my studies, money, and whether that thing I said last week means that my new friend hates me. My biggest symptom is overeating to deal with my emotions and feeling of lack of control over my future. Instead of me identifying the depression it was my partner. I became so accepting of my anxiety and my habits that I couldn’t even recognise what was happening to me.
The point of this post is to make you stop and think. Slow down for a minute. When people hinted that something might be off with me, I became defensive and angry, as if even considering that I had depression was an admittance of defeat. I didn’t want to be depressed. If I accepted it, that meant it was real.
Once I sat down with myself and wrote out my thoughts and feelings, it dawned on me that I couldn’t continue like this. Here are a few ways I began to accept it and helped myself clear my head to tackle the beast that is depression.
- I listened to people’s concerns. REALLY listened. Before, I brushed off suggestions from my partner that I was pushing myself too hard and that I didn’t smile as much as I used to. I read into his suggestions. He doesn’t think I’m fun anymore. He doesn’t understand how important my studies are to me. My anxiety and depression was twisting his words before I could even consider them. Listen. They care about you and notice changes in behaviour that haven’t gotten on your radar.
- I made an appointment with the GP. There is no shame in needing medication. It doesn’t make you weak. I say this all the time to other people but was shocked the attitude I had towards myself. I felt that since I was in fairly good position in life compared to other people, that it wasn’t that serious and I could dig myself out of my rut. Comparisons help nobody. As I said before, depression doesn’t discriminate.
- I made an effort to make plans with people. I’m a people person. If I spend a day all by myself I go stir crazy. Lately I’ve found myself feeling lonely, but still not wanting to spend time or talk with anybody. Whenever I was with people, I just wanted to go home. This attitude should have been a wake up call. I try to make plans to stop myself crawling further and further into isolation and my own head.
- I let myself take shortcuts. Sometimes I begrudge taking the shortcut. I like to make my pastry from scratch and I like to accomplish things alone. It’s a lot of effort, especially when you’re busy and not in the best mindset. It’s okay to buy lazy vegetables or ready made pastry. It’s okay to put dishes in the dishwasher instead of washing them by hand. It’s okay to play the game on easy mode. Help doesn’t mean you’re not independent or intelligent.
I’m trying really hard to accept help from others and that I don’t have to do everything perfectly. It’s okay if not everybody likes me or if I take a little longer to do something than somebody else. Accepting that I had depression I feel has helped me on the road to recovery. I’m not ‘better’ in many ways. However, accepting that I need to slow down and treat myself better has felt like a weight off my shoulders.