Over the past about 2 weeks an episode of depression hit me. It started off with me saying how unexplainably tired I was to those around me. I couldn’t explain why I was feeling this way, my daily routine hadn’t changed, my eating hadn’t changed. I was still working out 5-6 days a week and eating well. Then, things that normally didn’t upset me or cause anxiety, began to. I would describe these emotions as being overwhelmed. Most days I’m strong enough to face these feelings like a champ and take them head on, when the depression hits me its like a fog where I can’t see the end of the tunnel and I feel very hopeless.
Sadly most people hide from these feelings and don’t publicly express them because there is such a heavy social stigma on it and because the phrase mental illness makes it sound so shameful. Often times the phrase "I’m so depressed” is used to describe things in minutia that when people who are suffering from depression are sounding the alarm to their friends and family, it is often dismissed and seen as ‘woe is me’. If you have seen the recent Pixar movie Inside Out, then you may have gained a sight inside on how emotions can really play a significant role in how one can see life day to day. Being one who is currently experiencing a depressive episode it is like Sadness and Joy slipped away and a Train of Thought keeps circling through my mind.
The coping mechanisms that worked for me in the past to face depression caused by self image issues is not the same coping mechanism that is working for me with this particular episode. The important thing at the moment is that I've become more self aware and in tune with myself that I can identify that something is quite "off". I remember telling my husband a few weeks ago, "Something is wrong with me." Now that I'm in the thick of it I can reflect on some of these moments and identify them as key indicators to become more self aware of a future encounter.
As I take things one step at a time, one day at a time. Writing about it is helping me see through it, talking to friends openly about it has been extremely helpful to lift the fog. Each person has different coping tools and it's important to try out different ones to see what works for people. It's also really important to seek professional help as soon as possible. If you have health insurance, check with your provider first. Another great resource to look for one in your area is: psychologytoday.com . There are several different types of depression and its important to identify which one you are experiencing so that you are aware of what you course of action is best for you.
Here are some things that I have tried in the past and have thought about:
- Going on a hike
- Talking to friends
- Taking some time to be alone (this can be helpful for some, but for me, being alone in my thoughts doesn't help)
- Listening to music (currently on my playlist is Leon Bridges, Coming Home Album)
- Reducing your obligations and take some time to focus on yourself
- Take a staycation with the family
If you are going through some rough times know that you are not alone. Tell someone about it, you might just be surprised to know that someone in your close circle may have experienced something similar recently. Finding a support group of friends and family who you can openly run to is vital.