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What Depression feels like

Incrementum

What is Depression?

When it comes to this topic, many people tend to think of it as deep sadness and in a way they are right, but that is not where the story ends. I just thought of the times I’d go to the cafeteria alone after a long busy shift as a student chef and sob my eyes out. If you saw me then, you’d think that perhaps I heard really bad news, why was I sobbing you ask? Well… different reasons. Sometimes it was because I could not find my knife, or because I could not find the grater, or even finding out that we were out of bananas for service would leave me soaked with tears which carried heavy sorrow I had never felt before (deep sadness). At this stage, I was already depressed for longer than I imagined.

On top of deep sadness, it is also a thief, a bully and a killer. It will kill your dreams and passion and turn everything you once enjoyed into a chore (something you have to do whether or not you want to), like washing dishes. If you live alone and let your dirty dishes pile up, they will remain dirty and this can cause many problems for you. Depression steals your joy for life and replaces it with fears, fears that may be justified but unhealthy. This will lead to unsocial tendencies which will leave you stripped of most friendships and relationships. Everything in your brain can turn into dark scary situations in an instance, which can be very confusing. In many cases that is why many depressed people rather stay at home, the world outside is an unpredictable predator waiting to sink its teeth into their souls.

Theatrical Masks
  1. A thief – It steals your joy for life.

You used to love the outdoors and travel. Your friends called you the lifeline because everywhere you went you sparked life, until that specific day when you experienced that thing which turned your world upside down. Maybe it was your parents’ divorce, or you got rejected for that thing your career depended on, or maybe your lifelong pet died and the sadness you felt became permanent. Now you fail daily to find the motivation to do the things you used to love. These experiences combined with other factors can certainly lead one to depression.

2. A bully – It makes you feel inferior and prevents you from standing up for yourself.

When the cause of depression for many is physical, mental or sexual abuse, it can be very challenging to gather the guts to report a crime that was done unto you. Especially when the authorities or people who are supposed to be protecting you ends up protecting and covering up the crime. This can lead you to believe that you were responsible for what happened to you and when driven by guilt you will not be doing anything about it until you have faced that bully in your mind and seek help. If you don’t deal with it, the perpetrators have the opportunity to do this to other people since their crimes had no consequences. This is obviously a heavy burden to carry and with the help and support of friends and loved ones, you can do it!!!

3. A killer – It kills your dreams and passions and can take your life too.

This one is simple, as humans we thrive on dreams and passions as those give us purpose. Take them away and purpose falls off. If we have no purpose to live, then we are bound to self-destruct. That is why for many people who lost everything, they would get so depressed that they’d take their own lives. When we feel there is nothing left to live for, it’s easy to stop fighting.

How did I know I had it?

  • I lost all interest in everything.
  • I could not get out of bed and lost appetite.
  • I constantly thought of killing myself.
  • All my relationships and friendships fell apart.
  • I could not keep a job.
  • I hated life and my life.
  • I attempted suicide.
  • I always found darkness in everything, just to name a few.

How did I minimize it?

  • Keep an eye on your changing character, morals and standards.
  • Write down your dreams and keep an eye on them.
  • Keep a journal of how you feel every day and analyse it every week.
  • When you feel sad or off, push your mind into the light: Play games with no violence, cook/eat food you love, learn new skills (keep your mind challenged)
  • Spend a lot more time in the sun.
  • Put on the brakes on the amount of negative media on TV or social media platforms.
  • Spend time with people who appreciates you.
  • Make extra effort to groom yourself. Set an alarm if you have to.
  • Eat healthy nutritious meals.
  • Take care of your mind (don’t wonder off into the darkness on your own)
  • Do not isolate yourself. All of the above worked for me because pills were not working, if they work for you, you are the lucky one.

I know what I said above may sound confusing, those points are more for anyone who is looking for a way out. Even a loved one can use this as a guide. It’s difficult for a depressed person to get themselves to that point, at least you can always try.

In order to tell my story better, I am going to use a house to illustrate what depression feels like to me. Before we get to that, let us quickly take a detour.

Story time (1).

Imagine a village or a neighbourhood, many houses, many people, etc. Then imagine a different neighbourhood, in this other neighbourhood in one of the houses lives Pine. He wakes up one morning with hectic diarrhoea, so hectic that whatever he eats comes out as water. He is very concerned at this, so he goes to the Dr who prescribes pills to stop his frequent watery toilet trips. The pills help for a while until his body stops responding altogether and the diarrhoea comes right back. Pine’s neighbour Bans also has the same problem but he chooses to use home remedies to try and solve his problem, but nothing works. Their neighbour Apple also has…? You guessed it right! Because of cultural and social norms, although they see each other every day, they don’t talk about the “problem” they have, (like in many marriages). Each of them thinks it’s a bug they got or something they ate, but it’s too shameful to talk about it. They don’t want to be judged because being normal and having diarrhoea is not acceptable, so they go on and develop chronic diarrhoea for over 20 years, not once talking about it.

In the end, it turns out they all got it from their water supply, in fact, everyone in that neighbourhood had it, sadly. If Pine told Bans and Bans told Apple about this problem, this would have become a common problem and with everyone trying to figure it out, it could have been solved much quicker.

Point: IF you were the only person on earth, you could easily struggle with a problem for 20 years, because you are alone. On the other hand, when there are billions of people like you, it makes no sense to hide your problems in the name of culture and social norms and proceed to battle with simple issues for decades.

Just like our 3 characters in the story, if you hide your problems and your friends hide their problems, it’s possible that all the people you know struggle with the same thing and don’t even know it. I am not saying you should go around shouting that you are constipated. Rather that you need to find people you trust, talk to them and try to find a solution. We humans are obviously one species, regardless of the discriminating walls we have put up against each other. Therefore, we have so much in common, why don’t we try opening up to each other so we can deal with basic problems efficiently?

Take away: We fail in many areas of our lives because we take corporate problems and try to solve them alone.

To be continued…

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