What Nobody Tells You About (Debilitating) Depression.

February 5th, 2016, 9pm

These days there is a lot of talk about depression everywhere. A lot of campaigns that raise awareness and erode stigma. Campaigns that tell you its okay to feel like this, you’re not alone, there are resources out there to help you feel better, it gets better. Etc.

But that’s not the full story. While I’m glad there is a lot of visibility now and people are being connected to resources, when I see these campaigns, I feel like something isn’t being said. A lot of the stories I’ve read from sufferers’ tend to gloss over the recovery process. Mentions of therapy. Medication. Exercise. Social support networks. It all seems pretty straight-forward doesn’t it?

The truth is: It’s not going to be an easy journey. Sometimes you have to go through several treatments before you find the right one for you. You may have to see different doctors, counsellors, (clinical)psychologists and psychiatrists before things start to get better.

And even when you have your treatment plan in place, it’s still not going to be easy. Getting treatment doesn’t mean you wont ever have depressive symptoms again. This is especially true for those of us on the more severe end of the depression spectrum. (I was diagnosed as having moderately severe depression, only one notch away from the most extreme.)The less severe your depression, the more it responds to treatment. Mental health disorders are not “cured”, only managed.

I tend to have 2-3 month cycles where I feel relatively alright; content even, followed by a crash for between a week to a month. I call this crash “hitting-rock bottom” and during this time I struggle to climb my way up.

There’s not tried and true formula which works every time. It’s a period of frantically trying various thing: music, writing, travelling, socialising, makeup, films, talking to people, online support networks… ANYTHING I can think of to try and displace that pervasive feeling of hopelessness, pain, entrapment, aloneness which threatens to consume me.

I cannot even begin to tell you how lucky you are if you have an effective support network! In my experience, friends want to help, but they do not understand. Sometimes they do, but they have their own lives, their own struggles. Some of my closest friendships have declined because I leaned to hard and now that is yet another thing I have to fear.

I’ve had my official diagnosis for over 5 years now and have been in therapy since. I even tried medication once. But sometimes I feel like I’m still the person I was 5 years ago, desperately clutching at straws, in search of a life raft.

I have definitely seen some changes (rock-bottom is less enduring nowadays) and found certain things which tend to help more than others (singing, talking to therapists, talking more openly about my disorder) but there are plenty of times when I feel like my progress is too slow and I’m basically in the same position as I was in the beginning.

Sorry if this is too depressing but I thought this needed to be said, and maybe it will help some of you who feel similarly to realise that your experiences are also represented and you are not alone in your struggle.

For those of you who are new in your depression recovery journey,do not be discouraged. Maybe you will have better luck or your depression will lend itself better to treatment. You’ll never know till you try. The validation alone of other people acknowledging what you’re going through can be huge and help silence those people and voices which try to tell you what you’re going through is not real.

Brace yourselves, the journey is not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be worthwhile.

David Wade, Samuel, Rana, Just and 2 others said thanks.

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