I’ve been very open in regards to my ongoing war with depression. I feel that the only way we can de-stigmatize things like depression or any other mental health illness, is to speak openly, honestly and without shame.
It’s with the continued spirit of honesty, that I share with you my current struggles with depresion.
I’m not going to go into my past history with depression in this post right now because honestly, this is hard enough as it is. You can however, read for yourself. See My War with Depression.
In a nutshell, I’m not doing well.
There are a few things that tend to happen when depression is kicking my ass. It’s always been that way. As problematic and disruptive as these things can be, it’s sorta like an early warning system.
It becomes harder to think
The first thing that tends to happen when depression gets the upper hand in my life, is that it becomes harder and harder for me to think clearly. I don’t mean like when someone is drunk and can’t think clearly. It’s very different than that.
For me, thinking becomes exhausting. The idea of doing anything that requires significant thought is absolutely overwhelming. This is most obvious with my writing.
When I’m getting depressed, my writing changes or stops all together. This is very problematic because writing is my main means of coping.
It’s just too hard and the very thought of forcing myself to write is simply too much. For the record, I can’t even begin to explain how hard it is for me to write this post right now. It makes my head hurt because stringing coherent thoughts together is very, very difficult.
Impulsive and Indecisive
One of the more obvious signs, is also one of the more embarrassing to talk about. This is how my wife knows that things are going downhill for me.
Normally, I have no problems making sound decisions and standing by them. As a special needs parent, I make designs everyday that most people will never have to make in their lifetime. When I was a medic, I literally made life and death decisions every time I climbed into the back of the bus. I was very good at my job because I knew what I was doing and I made sound decisions.
When depression is kicking my ass, making simple decisions becomes very problematic. I’ll give you an example.
I had to get my headphones replaced under warranty today. It was upsetting because they’ve recently discontinued the ones I had and I didn’t want a different model.
I went to the store to replace them and ended up with a gift card because they don’t stock them anymore. The problem then became, I couldn’t decide what I wanted and I was unable to just walk away. I ended up picking something out but the moment I left the store, I became extremely anxious because I felt that I made the wrong decision.
It drove me crazy all day until I ended up returning them for a different model.
I’ll be completely honest with you. I will probably feel the same way tomorrow. I’ll feel this overwhelming urge to impulsively return them for a different pair because I’m afraid I made the wrong choice.
I won’t go down that road again but I have in the past and no matter how many times I swapped something out, it never felt better in the end. That’s not a road I want to go down and it’s something that I’m ashamed of.
Here I am, the same person that made life and death decisions for a living, not able to pick out a new pair of headphones without going crazy.
Depression can make be very indecisive and impulsive. I should mention that it’s only with things I’ve recently bought. It’s never anything illegal or dishonest but that doesn’t make it healthy or appropriate.
The last obvious sign that I’m being crushed by depression is a physical sign that ends up being very painful.
When depression is taking over, my stress level skyrockets for a million reasons. Some of those reasons I shared already and the others are irrelevant at this point.
When things get bad for me, my left eye twitches. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a weird sensation and not something that I control on a conscious level.
The constant eye twitching causes really bad tension headaches but I can’t stop doing it. It only happens when depression has me in its grasp and I’m losing the battle.
It’s a weird sign but it’s something that always happens. Lizze might even notice me doing this before I become aware I’m doing it and it let’s her know that I’m barely treading water.
When these signs begin to rear their ugly head, I know that I’m in for a difficult time ahead. It means that I have to become more aware of myself and regroup the best I can.
Aside from fighting back with things like therapy, medications and exercise, there isn’t much that can be done.
Depression is like a Chinese finger trap. The harder you fight it, the tighter it grips you and its not something you can will yourself out of.
During these periods of time, I try very hard not to beat myself up for falling behind on my writing. Writing is so important to me and it’s the main form of therapy for my depression in the first place. That why’s it’s so frustrating for me when I can’t write.
I also avoid making any major purchases or decisions when things get this bad. It’s not always possible but I try to limit it as much as I can.
As for the thing with my eye, I try things like meditation or sometimes taking a nap sorta hits the reset button for me. I can focus on ignoring the sensation that causes my eye to twitch but this can often be a losing battle. It means I’ll be dealing with headaches but there’s not much I can do.
Look, I don’t expect anyone to understand any of this becasue perhaps it’s unique to me. Everyone can experience depression in different ways. We’re all different and that’s okay.
What’s important is that we never feel shame for struggling with depression. If you’re going through this alone, change that. Talk to someone and get help. Depression is not something to be ashamed of and it’s definitely not something you should take on alone.
As hard as it was to write this, I take solace in the hope that this is helpful to someone out there.
I’m not ashamed of being depressed. I can’t help it and it’s not my fault. How I choose to deal with it however, does fall on me.
Sharing my story, as uncomfortable as it can be at times, helps me to feel like I’m more in control. Depression wants me to suffer in silence. It wants me to be ashamed to talk about it. It wants me to give up or not get help.
I’ve always talked about depression as an ongoing war, where many battles will be fought. Some will be won and others will be lost. The important thing to remember is that when I lose a battle, there will always be another. I will find my strength and kick depressions ass the next go round.
Please, if you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, get help. You matter and your life matters. There are people standing by to help you, 24/7. Call the number below or click the image to visit their site.