With today being #timetotalk day I thought to lay bare some of my recent struggles with depression and how I’ve coped with living with the illness since 2009.
Question and reflection
Unless you keep a diary, life can seem an unrelated series of events. It’s only when you begin to realize that current moments can be a reflection of past events that you begin questioning what is going on.
Rather than escape it, I learnt from the past
I’m naturally someone who doesn’t try to dwell on the past but I have learnt the hard way when it has come to my own health. After two serious bouts of depression in 2009 & 2013, I now recognise the triggers that can lead me along the dark road to the gulf that is the black dog. Although my depression of 2009 was a shock, I learnt the signs of when I was at my weakest. So when I felt and recognised those same indications in 2013 I took myself straight back to my doctor to seek help.
Yes, I still suffered from depression that year but I had much more control over my emotions. I knew what had helped me in 2009 and what hadn’t. It is said that those that experience a depressive episode in their life will normally experience at least one further episode. I was ready for it the second time round and better prepared to seek the help I needed early.
I now look for patterns of behaviour that are indicative of low mood. Steering away from destructive thoughts, keep those with a negative attitude at arm’s length and enjoying the simple things like the unconditional love from a pet.
These are ways to batter the shadows away from creeping back into view.
But the hardest thing to achieve when depression hits is bringing yourself to talk about it. The easy things seem to be the hardest things to even contemplate, let alone attempt. And coming to terms with depression can be the hardest battle to fight. By the time you know depression has you is when you’re at your lowest ebb. When an event in your life has reduced your resistance to dust, a diseased mind can be left to strip back any purpose you had left to live for.
If you know someone struggling with depression, please don’t judge. Don’t tell them to ‘pull yourself together’, instead give them time to fight their demons. Hold their hand, be a friend, keep them warm, have patience, listen to them but don’t judge and expect plenty of tears. They need you more than they know, trust me.