Depression can be hard to put into words. Here’s What I Wish Everyone Would Understand About My Depression. Take the survey & win a $100 gift card! I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All my opinions are my own.
What I Wish Everyone Would Understand About My Depression
I had a magical conference with other bloggers last month. Fast paced, little sleep and antibiotics with specific side effects that “may cause depression,” I was a hot mess of emotions as I struggled to keep a “happy face” for the six days being surrounded by people I admired and looked up to. But the battle in my head raged on as I questioned everything I was doing, feeling or thinking – sometimes near tears.
“You don’t belong here.” “You’re a failure.” “You’ll never be like them.”
One morning at the conference a friend had made a point to say hi to me in passing. I grumbled a hi in return and kept walking, lost in my demons while (in my mind) pretending to have my act together. Not my finest moment, as I knew I was being short and rude.
A few days later, that same friend pulled me aside. She asked if I was ok, recalling our morning exchange. “You looked angry. I wanted to make sure you were feeling alright.” She was concerned with how I was feeling, knowing my history. I’m so glad that she took me aside, asked questions and allowed me to clarify what was really going on during that conference. And in the end, she was still my friend and still there for me.
I wish every conversation was that easy. There are days when anxiety/depression takes complete control of me. There are days when I hide it well. There are days when I can’t even put into words what my depression feels like. But if I had to take my depression and put it into a box, here’s what I wish everyone would understand about my depression.
My depression is a journey
I used to think that depression was the destination, aka a death sentence. I would forever be shackled, weighed down and labeled with a horrible stigma that would prevent me from living the best possible life. But now I know that depression is a medical condition – emphasis on medical. It’s a diagnosis that requires support, treatment and love. It’s a journey that continues through life – it doesn’t end here.
And I am not alone on this journey. Depression is extremely common, affecting about 1 in 15 adults each year and 1 out of every 6 people at some point in their life. As many as 1 out of every 3 women experience depression in their lifetime. And while depression symptoms may vary widely from sadness to physical aches and pains, we all have a common foundation.
My depression needs empathy, not judgement
Notice I didn’t say sympathy. I don’t need pity. I’m not sitting here saying “woe is me,” seeking out your attention and approval. But I am asking for your empathy. These days, what divides us speaks louder than what connects us. We crave chaos, anger and adversity. It’s easier to pass judgement instead of ask questions. It’s easier to assume the worst instead of the best.
I am thankful for friends who understand that some days are hard for me, really hard. And as much as I think that I’m hiding it well, I fail often. But having people in my life that empathize with my depression journey, those are the ones I need in my life.
My depression is high-functioning
There are also days when I have folks ask me if I “really” have depression. *Insert eye roll.* I can smile and have depression. I can have a lovely conversation with a person and still have depression. I can go on a vacation, have fun and even indulge in good things and still have depression. Depression doesn’t fit one mold or one mood all of the time. I don’t have a depression dial that I turn up and down on a whim. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. Just like I said in my viral depression post, depression can look like anything.
My depression and good parenting can coexist
Just because I have depression, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be a good parent. It’s because I have depression that I am pushed to be a better parent. I don’t want my depression to define my kids or their childhoods. And that constant struggle in my mind only further motivates me to overcome those obstacles. Do I fail? Often. Do I struggle? Daily. But do I love? Fiercely.
My depression can bring people together
It may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s amazing how one diagnosis can bring people together and encourage hope. Back in November 2017, I posted a really important depression survey in partnership with Med-IQ, an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals – now expanding their tips and services to those battling depression themselves. And the response to the survey was overwhelming. Over 4,000 people took the survey that month, with astonishing results. Here’s what you said about depression:
- 87% of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 45-years old.
- 71% reported having a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Almost 67% completed the survey because they thought that they might have depression
- 98% agreed with the statement that depression is caused by a combination of factors including genetics and life circumstances
- Almost 95% of respondents viewed exercise as treatment for depression and 87% who viewed cognitive behavioral therapy as treatment
Being honest and open with your doctor about your symptoms and family history is critical in determining the best treatment plan for you. Don’t be afraid to get help and seek treatment. Medication in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common approaches your physician may suggest.
Take the first step & win a $100 Visa gift card
The hardest part about being diagnosed with depression was taking that first step to get help. Most of us don’t want to be pushed. We want to find our own way, make our own decisions, determine our own paths. But as someone who is going through the journey, I encourage you to begin that first step now. Med-IQ is helping people take that first step with this anonymous depression survey. Take less than 10 minutes to read, get help and win – for your health. If you took the survey back in November, thank you! I now encourage you to take this second survey. It’s slightly different than the first one and is a new opportunity to learn more about depression and how it affects you. If you haven’t taken the depression survey before, I encourage you to take that first step and participate.
Take the Depression Survey
Upon completion, you will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. No personal information will be kept, sold, or stored in the survey completion process. Upon completion of the survey, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that you have taken the survey to be entered to win a VISA gift card. Ends 4/23/2018.
My depression is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me
I used to think that depression held me. But the truth is, I hold my depression. I can either stare at it and let that part of me control everything, or I can keep moving forward. There are days when I do sit and stare. There are days when I don’t even feel that weight in my hands. But as I continue on my journey, I am having more and more days when I can’t feel the weight at all. Depression isn’t a stigma. It’s a sign that we need more compassion in the world. Hopefully with the right encouragement, treatment and hope, we can change what people think about depression and create real change. But I need your help. Will you stand with me?
What do you wish people would understand about depression?
Although this post is sponsored by Med-IQ, all opinions and thoughts are my own. The links in this post are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice, nor are they endorsements of any healthcare provider or practice. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content. Follow Raising Whasians for more of our honest family moments, recipes, crafts, and travel tips.
Arlett (Chasing Joy) says
Thank you for being so open and honest. I really appreciate your views on parenting with depression.
Thank you for sharing your journey. I took the survey!
Lori Gunn says
This blog on depression is definitely worth reading. It takes courage to share your experience and how it affects daily life.
Carol Cassara says
There’s still a lot of misconceptions about depression and that’s what makes me sad. I like everything that you mentioned that you wished people understood. I wan the same things.
We have a family member who struggles. She thinks her ‘brain is stupid.’ We keep telling her she just hasn’t found the right coping solution yet. We’re still working on it and through it with her.
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
This is a great article! Depression may be a sensitive topic for others but it is really an important matter to talk about. Thanks for sharing your story.
You talked about your depression a few times but you look so cheerful and happy I can barely see why but its your truth. I am glad you revealed its high functioning but its still there but just keep being a bright light love.
Kimmy Ripley says
I really wish people understood that it is something hard to ignore and it takes over you. There is no magic switch that you can use to turn it off. Often you just have to ride it out. I suffer from bipolar depression and anxiety. Living with these disorders is a nightmare. I am on meds and they do not help much.
Peter G says
Bad decisions can be made with depression and the consequences can be dire.
Stacey G. says
Thank you for sharing your story. I also suffer from depression. I’m 39 and I’ve been on medications since 2001. Between 2014 and 2015 I had over 20 sessions of electroshock therapy. I believe the electroshock helped more than the medication, but the relief only lasted about one month per session. I’d like to have it again, but I have since been diagnosed with MS and my doctor isn’t sure electroshock therapy is good for people with MS because there has been little research on it. Thanks again for sharing your truth with us. It makes people like me feel less alone. I took the survey.
Julie Cutshaw says
The struggle of depression is real. No matter the age. And it’s hard to be so candid about it and I thank you for doing so. I deal with it myself and my husband as well after his battle with cancer. It can bring ppl together and heal through the process.
Janet W. says
I love how open you are with sharing your experience and story.
Karen Propes says
Thanks for sharing your story. I have depression for other reasons, one because of an accident I couldn’t work anymore. I felt like I was nothing without having an accomplishment from work. I’m still working through that and the fact I have neuropathy and can’t feel my feet sometimes, not like me who is usually running from department to department and running around with my family, home, church. I now have to keep a rollator so if I get that spasm feeling I can sit down before I fall. I was diagnosed with MS and I just feel like a failure. But I had my depression before I found out about my MS. I was also an in a bad marriage that I was abused. Not my current, but I was made to feel so useless, I have just felt I had to give 200 percent to do good. I’m so glad I’ve come to overcome some of these things. But when the depression hits, it doesn’t matter what it’s about it just there. Then I tell someone and try to take it one step at a time. I always pray for everyone going through depression. We put some much on ourselves and sometimes things happen we can’t accomplish what we think we should and we end up in depression only because of something we created ourselves. Stop and think about the why and hopefully, it will end up in the I need to work on that and do it.
As someone who struggles with Depression and Anxiety Disorders I applaud you for sharing your story and making people more aware. I hope this helps even just one person out there!
Thank you for being so honest and open. I have suffered from depression most of my teen and adult life. People wonder why I am depresses as if it is any one thing instead of a complex variety of brain chemistry environment etc .
Dawn Monzu says
Thank you for letting us in and to see something that most of us (me) try to hide. I have been depressed for as long as I can remember. I truly appreciate you bringing this to the forefront! I really wish people around me would understand that depression doesn’t mean I’m just being lazy! UGH! God bless and thanks for the hope. I’m very low right now, but it helps to know it can get better.