Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Depression Feels Like

A lot of people have been messaging me on Facebook with thanks (makes me feel really good!) and questions. A lot of the questions have been around understanding depression.

Here is what depression is like for me. In the early stages, people don't notice it at all. But in my mind there is a feeling of despair. However, I don't talk about it because I don't want to trouble anyone. I am hoping it just goes away.

As the depression grows, I try extra hard not to be a burden. I withdraw from social activities, stop talking with friends, and pretend that everything is alright.

Soon I have to start calling in sick to work, because my brain has stopped functioning at a high enough level to cope with anything. I start to cry for no reason. I don't want to get out of bed.

Finally, I get intrusive thoughts of killing myself. Everything feels hopeless. Doing the simplest task feels impossible. Life is pain. I still don't want to be a burden, but don't know how to end the pain. I contemplate suicide.

The end stage is like a dream. I cry uncontrollably, and the psychic pain is overwhelming. It doesn't matter what anyone says to me, or what reality is - I want to hurt myself. Often, after recovering from an episode like this, I will have little memory of it.

When I am this depressed, I will lie about how I am feeling. I cannot be trusted to see a doctor or to get myself any help. I will overshare personal details (the last time was with my boss - thank God she is a wonderful person whom I can trust!).

Now, I use techniques like CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to try and stop the downward spiral. It's hard though - a lot of work. I also have a network of friends who have a list of my symptoms, and will make me get help before things get too bad.

For people I know who repress their feelings of depression, I notice that it often manifests itself as physical pain, irritability or even anger.

In Vancouver, Surrey and several other cities across Canada, you can access a psychiatrist within weeks at a Mood Disorders Association clinic, with a referral from your doctor. Any doctor in Vancouver can also refer you to a CBT class at your local hospital.

Mental note: Learn mindfullness and practice meditation - both help stop depression.


Dana said...

It's not really oversharing when you are in that state. It's necessary to be alerted to the spiral and it's a way of reaching out. It's an antidote to the protective undersharing you attempt in the beginning of the depression. Such a struggle. <3 <3 <3

Kiki said...

Hmmm, I love you so much, D'Arc. All of this is making me really think about how I deal with my anxiety & depression. Big loves to you & T!

D'Arcy said...

Thanks, both of you! Lots of love back. That's a great insight, Dana - I never thought of that. It's definitely on the list of symptoms I've given a few people who I see every day.