Depression can affect anyone!
Signs I’m getting depressed again: bouts of uncontrollable crying; loss of appetite; sleeping way too much; no interest in socialising; suicidal thoughts… One night, when I was 15, I opened my door to see my best friend holding an origami rose she’d made for me. I’ve always liked roses, but what would usually bring a smile to my face failed to rouse even the tiniest of grins. “One of those days?” she asked. “Yep,” was all I could reply, tears welling in my eyes. Taking my friend’s gift, I didn’t know then what I do now. I suffer from depression and “one of those days” means having a depressive episode. Sometimes I’m lucky and they are just that – a day. Sometimes it might take me a few to shrug the funk off my shoulders and be the joyful person I know I am. But when the beast is at its worst, I can wander in a slow-motion haze for weeks or months at a time.
Matter Over Mind
Usually there’s a trigger: a big change, stress at work or home, a break-up. But sometimes I wake up and feel the fog in my mind and heaviness in my bones for no reason at all. Those times are the worst because, hang on a second, I’m pretty sure you have a great life, Jess. Pretty sure you should be jumping out of bed to get to work or hang with your pals or take advantage of all the wonderful things the world has to offer. But no. Pretty sure depression doesn’t care. Because depression, like any illness, doesn’t discriminate and anyone is likely to suffer from it at some point in their lives. Despite those statistics and despite my GP telling me depression needs to be treated like any other disease, it’s taken me a long time to accept that what I suffer from is an illness and not just a state of mind. For years I thought it was the way I was thinking that was making me feel worthless, helpless or apathetic and prompted me to do nothing more than stare at a blank wall for hours on end. I figured all I had to do was snap out of it, stop thinking self-deprecating, negative, and even suicidal thoughts and hey, presto, normality would be restored.
When I’m depressed, no amount of positive thinking makes my blood feel less like lead or turning over in bed akin to running a marathon. A thousand happy thoughts can’t erase the one of putting an end to it all. I now credit depression to my family history of mental illness, some weird wiring in my brain that I (and the medical profession, for that matter) don’t fully understand, and, with no intent to blame, my upbringing. Understanding the “why” of the situation is important to an extent, particularly when you’re unpacking your past and its