It is sad to have depression because you wish you enjoyed all the things you love, like family, friends, and work. But when you are depressed you want to spend no time with anyone, doing anything. It can also make you mad that you are required to fake a smile and pretend to be happy just so you don't make other people uncomfortable.
|Photo by Jeff Norris|
It's also annoying because you do the right things and are still sick. I took the medication, which seemed to be working but the side effects were so bad I had to dramatically decrease the dose and see if I can build up more slowly. Any time you change a dose of medication, it can make your symptoms much worse and so my depression now is extremely bad. Also, my Mom has gotten worse and is now in hospice care so I am sure that is adding to my poor mental state. The problem is that normal sad or scary life events are different for people with mental illness. These events may or may not set off your illness and make it much worse. It is not like you can avoid those situations, but you may have to realize you will have months or years of fallout after stressful life events. Even good events like job change or marriage. And right now I have changed medications, changed jobs, and Mom is dying so I should expect that I will get worse, it's just that every time it happens, you have never quite prepared for it.
You are never prepared for how your illness with rear it's ugly head. For me it's how the depression, mania, anxiety, and eating disorder combine to create depths of despair and hell I didn't think were possible.
So, now when all of those things happen in your life, what do you do about it? You have mental illness and can't just "change your mind," "shake it off," "act happy," or "be different." But that does not mean you are lost. Here are a few tips and I know they are not easy to do, but once you do one, it gets easier and easier to do more:
- Remember that it is not always like this. It is not always this bad, there are good moments.
- Ask for help when you need it and will accept it.
- If you have not exercised, slept, or eaten correctly in weeks, do one of those things right one day, then two the next. Make one good decision every day that makes you feel better, no matter how small it seems.
- Tell your illness and whatever other factors contribute to it that they won't win. (I would probably use some more colorful language around that to really be firm about that point.)
- Write about what is going on, that usually diffuses the situation and helps you see things more clearly.
- Know that you are loved by God or the Universe, whatever you see as greater than yourself. Get in touch with that Spirit of Love through church, prayer, nature, art, animals, meditation, the beauty of science- anything that gives you the "awe factor" and lets you know you are not alone.