Depression is not sadness; it is something completely different that’s hard to describe to someone who’s never experienced it before. It’s the absence of emotion. A cold apathy that takes hold of your cognitive process, and puts the breaks on your life, relationships and anything else that is the least bit important to you.
It remains one of the most widely experienced, yet grossly misunderstood mental conditions. Although significant steps are being taken to empathise with people’s struggle to lead functional lives, there still remains a certain amount of stigma surrounding the illness, or at the very least misinformation.
If you’ve found yourself suffering from depression or know anyone who does, here are some points to remember that aren’t always so apparent when in the midst of a downward episode.
1. It Doesn’t Last Forever
This can be a tough one to wrap your head around when you’re in the very worst stages of chronic depression. But it’s true, everything is finite, and nothing, not one experience lasts a lifetime. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can get there. You just need to keep this firmly in mind. Depression is not a life sentence.
2. You Aren’t The Only One Suffering With It
Depression is more commonly experienced than any other mental illness worldwide, with a lot of support available in not-for-profit organisations, the NHS, charities and other support groups found online. Just because you feel alone doesn’t mean you are, or, should be. There are so many caring and compassionate people that are willing to give their time to help you.
3. People aren’t trying to be intrusive; they do care
It can be hard when friends and family are reaching out to you, saying all the things that only provides more of disconnect, such as, ‘just snap out of it,’ or ‘you don’t look depression.’ But remember, it isn’t their fault. If they’ve never experienced mental illness before, it can be hard for them to relate. But they are doing their best, as much as it may be hard for you to accept.
4. Getting better doesn’t mean right now. It’s a process.
The path to recovery is often a long one with multiple stalls, setbacks and frustrations along the way. You might even have experienced that already. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it is entirely possible. Don’t allow one setback to anchor you in the mindset of defeat. You can overcome the odds.The only way is forwards, one step at a time.
5. Wanting Personal Space is fine and Natural (Don’t feel guilt or shame)
The nature of depression means you will invariably want and need to spend a lot of time by yourself, though not to the extent you become isolated. However, it’s a fact depression reduces the willingness and capacity for social interaction. Knowing your limits and sticking to them is nothing to be ashamed of. If you need space and time, it is on your say so.
6. Depression does not make weak
Depression can affect anyone, even those larger than life characters that appear to have the world at their feet. It’s a condition that doesn’t discriminate or target particular groups of people. If you feel as though, this is exactly the thing that would happen to you – don’t. It’s exactly the thing that can happen to anyone.
7. Everyone’s depression is different
Depression is experienced in many in different ways. Some people’s condition may be more severe than others, meaning they live a more isolated life. If your condition allows you to function well enough to socialise and turn in for work, it doesn’t make your case any less worthy of attention than someone with more severe symptoms. You’re worthy of receiving help, and shouldn’t be afraid of asking for it.