What Depression feels like (P2)
What is depression (2)
You made it to our next post 🙂 Great!!!
If you have just come across this post, I gently recommend that you go read our first post first as you could learn so much out of it.
The progression of mental illness cure is more than a step behind compared to the progression of physical illness cure. As a result, mental illness is treated the same way a beast is shot with a tranquilizer, this does not eliminate the threat, but rather paralyses it temporarily.
I do understand that we are still just learning about depression, and I appreciate that we have evolved from harsh methods such as shock therapies and Witch hunts which claimed a lot of lives prematurely because of lack of better knowledge. In order to cure an illness, one will have to understand it properly.
We as humans are made up of body and spirit. These 2 factors not only make us, but also gives us clues of what’s happening around us.
Body: Our bodies are the physical parts of us, we taste, see, feel etc through our body. There are lines of communication set up in the body to ensure everything runs smoothly. Our bodies tell us through pain and other mechanisms when they need help and support to deal with intruders.
Spirit: It makes sense to me that the spirit is one with the soul and just like our bodies, our minds have ways of communicating with us when things go wrong or change. This leads me to a topic which still needs work but is good enough to mention: DREAMS!!! How can we keep an eye on our minds when they are not physical?
What are dreams?
There are many theories on dreams and I thought if I can add one to the list, why not? What if dreams are also reflections of our mental state? Think about it: When you stand across a reflective surface you see a reflection of yourself. Although that reflection may not be 100% accurate, it still gives you an idea of what you look like, the same with shadows (although they are greatly influenced by the position of light and the surface they fall on).
If you take time to look at the human body you will see great details of our make-up which will just leave you in awe. Everything in us is made with a purpose and it’s made to work in harmony with everything else in our body. The lungs don’t tell the heart to keep its noise levels down, because the lungs do understand that ‘they’ along with every other organ in the human body, are equally as important regardless of the role they play.
Take away: We can really learn a lot from this life inside our bodies to facilitate peace in our world outside. Also, we should use dreams as a way to see what is happening in our mind, we should treat dreams as mirrors of our minds, even if it’s just you experimenting. I know this helped me a lot.
Remember the house from the previous post before the detour?
I honestly battle with the notion that we were made so wonderfully but incomplete. That is why I took time to study my dreams and eventually came up with this dream theory: If dreams are reflections of our mental state then we may have a tool to deal with depression, before it can start, during and perhaps we can even have an after depression, when it’s gone for good.
The following house illustration is what helped me navigate through my dark days, and perhaps it helps you or helps you help your friends and loved ones.
Please understand that this house is my attempt at making my mental battle with depression physically visible to you. The process of getting out of the house was not a quick one for me.
Looking at this house you will see 2 characters, one inside the house, the other outside. Inside the house was me going through depression. To me being depressed felt like being inside a very strange house, initially it started off not that bad, (under the radar if you may). Then gradually things became darker with time, until I found myself in the darkest room, in this room that is where I tried to commit suicide. I believe that for many depressed people this is the room where things end.
The house is unpredictable, and the rooms are not at the same place always, and it becomes impossible to find your way out (if you don’t have any support) because the main door also keeps moving around. In this house I am represented by the Red, Orange and Yellow dot, the colours represents my emotional state, from Red being the most critical to Yellow being stable. My best friend is the Blue dot supporting me from the outside. Honestly this house illustration only comes close to explaining what I went through: Many days of just crying and doing nothing, eating myself almost to death, and not eating at all, and some really strange things in between. Some days I would wake up feeling slightly better than the previous day, so I’d imagine I am out of the darkest room, then something sad happens and my mood would shift so bad I’d spiral back into the darkest room. Yeah, hopeless, I know! It feels so hopeless to be this depressed.
It is a very helpless feeling to watch your friends and loved ones deteriorate from this monster. Imagine how much more helpless the people suffering from it must feel, every day waking up feeling the heavy weight of death on your shoulders. This is why support is very important, without support it is very difficult for a depressed person to see the light.
How to support a depressed person and why support is important:
Imagine being lost in the dark, you cannot see anything and you cannot hear anyone. You are afraid, and your mind is playing tricks on you, you hear and see things that are actually not there and now you’re trying to run from them. How does that clip look in your head? Pretty scary right? Well… Imagine that while you are feeling like that, you hear a voice of someone you love or know, a partner, friend or parent in the distance. They start by telling you everything nice they have experienced with you, this calms your nerves, and they tell you to focus on their voice and try as much as you can to follow it, because they are going to lead you out of that darkness. Perhaps you hear other people’s voices with your partner clapping and cheering, telling you of all the good things you can expect to get when you step into the light. Not only will this make you feel better, it will make you feel a little bit hopeful, a little bit happy, and a little bit less scared. That is the power of support.
This is why I have eventually found the courage to write this. It’s because of support from my best friend who chose to never give up on me. He is the only one who took the time to understand what I was going through and not allow me to push him away.
Remember in the previous post we spoke about depression stripping you out of everything good, including friendships and relationships? Just like some illness when they enter the body, they will start by invading good healthy organs undercover while growing, then start taking over, by the time the body realizes what is going on it’s almost too late. If the conditions are wrong, depression cannot take over. Therefore if you are healthy, try with all your might to not get depressed lol, it’s a rough happening. While you get some support, it’s important to set up short term goals for yourself during the days where life is a little bit bearable.
So how can you support them?
- Listen to them. Many times when I felt down in the dumps I just needed someone to listen to me, not to give advice or tell me all is going to be okay, but just an ear to listen and sympathize
- Talk to them. Just like anything in life, timing is important. If you love the person you’re tying to help, you won’t force anything on them. You can try to go deep if they are willing, to figure out how you can get them out of that mood.
- Do things with them. Encourage them to do things they used to love, and do it with them for support, don’t just send them to the art room to be painting alone.
- Go out with them. Go to social events with them, such as a sport event, or I dunno, whatever people do nowadays.
- Do not let them spend too much time indoors. Do some gardening, or crochet outside, even you can wash your dishes outside if you have nothing else to do.
The above is not the ultimate nor is it designed to suffocate anyone, you have to do it for them, not for you. If you can think of anything else that can help them then, DO IT.
It’s vital to remember that we all go through life differently and our experiences of depression will also differ. Don’t compare, and don’t push yourself too hard.
To be continued…
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