I Have Secrets
I suppose you could say that I have one secret, and that one secret spawns a subset of smaller secrets, secrets that I don’t feel like keeping to myself any longer.
I have depression. I have had depression since my eleventh grade of high school (I am now in my fourth year of University).
The interesting thing about depression is that we tend to associate it with “sadness,” and while yes, sadness is a huge part of depression, the symptom that truly characterizes depression, in my opinion, is lethargy. When I am experiencing a bout of depression, which is approximately one out of every four months (of course it varies), I “cannot” do anything. I mean, physically I COULD get out of bed, but it feels as though I am made of sand, and lifting all of that sand up and out of bed requires more strength than feel I have in me. It doesn’t matter how hungry I feel or how much I know that I should shower, removing myself from my bed during a particularly bad depression spell is an extremely difficult task.
I want to tell you about my depression because I need to admit it, in some shape or form, to someone. That isn’t quite right… to many somebodies. I want to tell an audience. I’m not brave enough to tell everyone yet without the guise of Windie here to comfort me, but this is a step in the right direction. The first step was truly admitting it to myself. I have had the thought, “I’m depressed” before, but never really have I admitted to myself until recently that “I have depression.” What I hope to achieve, first by admitting I have depression to myself, and then to other people, is to stop thinking of it as though it’s my fault. I hope to start thinking of it as something that isn’t a weakness, a fault of my character, and instead as something to be treated.
I’m vowing now to stop feeding depression. I’m telling myself and anyone reading this now that from this moment onward I’m going to try my best to pick my sand filled body up out of bed and fight through the symptoms when they occur. I’m going to eat when I’m hungry, shower when I need to, and practice anxiety reducing techniques so that I can sleep better. I’m going to learn not to let my external circumstances affect me quite so much anymore. Yes I feel absolutely done with school, but I’m not ACTUALLY done yet, so Windie, it’s time to tuck your head and skull bash it until you’re really done, you can do it without all the sadness. Perhaps most importantly though, I’m going to stop telling myself that I am somehow weak, stupid, or worse than others people for feeling this way. I’m not, and I know it’s not my fault.
What is my fault though, is contributing to these feelings of depression with my own negativity and self pity. I need to stop making myself feel worse, and I’m telling you all right now that I can and will stop. I don’t expect it to happen overnight, and I fully expect there to be some bumps along the way. Maybe I won’t always be able to pick myself up out of bed, but I am damn well going to try. I guess you could consider this post my own sort of take on a New Year’s Resolution. So I guess what I’m saying is: 2013, whatever you throw at me, I will be ready. Bring it.
I had the same revelation regarding my depression symptoms about a year ago, so I completely understand where you’re coming from. I found a therapist (LCSW) who has helped me figure out coping mechanisms and ways to cut out depression triggers as best I can. Part of the problem is that we’ve deduced that it’s seasonal, and I can’t exactly change the seasons. However, with her help I’ve made some really good life choices, and I hope you find the same kind of support. Good luck!
It’s insane how many people are affected by depression. I’m glad you realized it was affecting you and sought help. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words.
It took me way longer than it should to 1) get a therapist and 2) finally try medication. I felt weird, off-kilter, lonely, icky, tired, and anxious all the freaking time. One day, after about three and a half years of therapy and at least a year of medication, I realized I felt better, and it was not in a gee-I’m-having-a-good-day kind of way, it was in an oh, this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-be-healthy-and-recovering kind of way. You’re not stupid, you’re not weak, you’re certainly not lazy. Hang in there and continue to work to be kind to yourself. You deserve it.
Thank you Sweets, I really appreciate this. 🙂 I won’t be pursuing a therapist yet because unfortunately that’s not something I can afford, but thankfully I live with a great guy who lets me vent without judgement, so I seldom feel lonely or like I don’t have someone to talk to! The biggest change I need to make is how I think about depression, or rather, I need to THINK of it as depression instead of me being a baby or something. Thank you so much for the support, I’m going to try my best to get healthy!
I don’t usually comment here (don’t think I have before actually?!), but I do love your blog! As someone who struggles with depression too, this post really struck me. I’m replying to this particular comment because I had to give up a therapist who was too expensive, but she understood and immediately recommended a lot of places that provide free or very inexpensive therapy sessions. You can often find them at universities with counseling programs, hospitals, and other health centers. It’s wonderful to have an understanding s/o if you cannot find one. I got to the point that I felt guilty about venting to mine!
I also have depression. I took today as a mental health day from work. I’ve suffered it chronically for sixteen years, and the treatment (therapist and psychiatrist for me) has been difficult but amazingly worth it. You’re not alone and you’re not weak or lazy.
Ahh, mental health days. My mom used to let me take those in High School if I was ever feeling really overwhelmed or stressed. I will definitely be taking mental health days when I need them from now on. I’m so impressed to hear about you (and the other commenters) taking steps to treat themselves, findings therapists, medication if needed, and just being kind to yourself. Honestly, since I’m just at the start of figuring all of this depression business out, you all sound like heroes to me. I’ll definitely be following in all of your footsteps.
Thank you for sharing your strength with your readers. I think what you’ll find – and as you can see in the comments thus far – is that you are definitely not alone. It’s amazing just how many people in the world suffer from depression.
You’re absolutely right, here: “I hope to start thinking of it as something that isn’t a weakness, a fault of my character, and instead as something to be treated.” I know how hard it can be to take the step of recognition and then take the step to ask for help. My only suggestion to you is to take the time to seek out a therapist with whom you mesh well. If you don’t have a good working relationship with your therapist, it will be that much harder to move forward. About a month ago I sought out a therapist to work thru some of the emotional baggage I have about not being able to conceive (and after trying for a year and a half so far). I ended up just choosing someone randomly out of the phone book and it was an utter disaster. Just remember that if you don’t feel comfortable with whomever it is, it’s not your fault. You may just need to find someone else to talk to! 🙂
Remember to be kind to yourself and do what you need to do to be happy.
Thank you Nicole.
Like I said in response to Sweets, I unfortunately can’t afford a therapist at the moment, but I have a ton of support in the form of a loving fiancee, so I’m not too worried about having someone to talk to! Changing my mentality is the biggest step I’m working toward for now, as well as researching various forms of and treatments for depression. Despite being unable to get a therapist for the time being, I’m very serious about diving head into fixing this 🙂
And I’m so sorry to hear about your issues conceiving. My aunt was also told she would be unable to conceive (though she actually had a miracle baby late into her thirties! It was amazing!). I know from seeing my aunt experience that how hard it can be, and she felt like less of a woman. Just know that it’s not a reflection on you personally, you’re not less of a woman because of it ❤ There's this blog called Fussy busty that indicates you're a pretty swell person 😉
Well, if you ever need someone to talk to, please let me know. If nothing other than my educational background, I am a great listener and do not judge. I’ve done enough stupid stuff in my own life that I don’t have two legs to stand on when listening to other people’s life stories!
Thank you for your support. You really touched on some of the things I have felt – feeling less like a woman, like it’s my fault, etc. We just started seeing a fertility specialist last week and we got my husband’s test results back. Thankfully, he’s making good stuff (so awkward, sorry) and my first thought was “Well what’s wrong with me, then?”. Even though it’s totally probable that there’s nothing wrong and it’s just been bad timing. I’m trying to stay positive, but – like depression – it’s not something you just talk about….so it’s hard working through some of the emotions on my own. But like you, I have a great partner 🙂
Do let me know if you ever need to talk!
You’re definitely not alone and you’re certainly not weak. Depression is a debilitating illness, not a sign of moral or physical weakness. The people in my life who struggle with this are some of the strongest people I know. I just want to let you know that you’re not alone and you’re not weak. Hang in there and fight it out.
Thank you so much for the kind words!
I love how strong you sound in this post! I know depression can be really debilitating and add a strong dose of guilt along with it. I think that acknowledging that it is a real issue and something you have to fight through, is definitely a great step forward. I hope 2013 is amazing for you– although I love your bra posts, I can probably live without them while you deal with your own health which is WAY more important :).
You’re sweet, thank you 🙂
Once school settles down I should be back into blogging pretty steadily again. Frankly I just don’t have the time right now! Blogging is definitely good for my mental health. There’s a strong sense of community in the lingerie blogsphere that is really fulfilling and enjoyable. I haven’t really been able to find something quite like it offline. Everyone is amazingly supportive (pun very much intended) without even trying to be, and I really appreciate it.
I aplaude you for your attitude and I do believe 2013 will reward you for your bravery, as will the years to come.
I see a lot of people here reccomended therapy and I am all for it. However, if you are by any chance a spiritual person (not religious necessarily), I think the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are much better in cases of depression. If you are interested let me know 😉
Hi Vee, thank you for the kindness 🙂
I don’t know that I would consider myself a spiritual person, but I’m currently looking into meditation to gain better control of my thoughts and to aid as a calming device. I’m pretty much open to trying anything within reason. I’ll definitely look into your suggestion sometime, thanks!
Gaining control of your thoughts and feelings is kind of the point of these excercises which is why I highly recommend them 🙂 but with or without them I know you will make it through your own way because I feel you are much stronger than you think 🙂
And please, don’t let any state of mind/soul keep you from writing this blog 🙂 I love your writing, perceptiveness and your sensibility, please keep up the good work :*
Thank you so much for posting this. I suffer from depression too (as well as intermittent anxiety with panic attacks.) I know it takes a lot of guts to come out and admit it, since we’ve all internalized the stigma that says depression is just “weakness” or whatever. People don’t realize how strong you have to be to live with mental illness.
Take care of yourself, first and foremost. Seek support where you can get it and do what you can to make yourself happy. Your blog is awesome but put your health first 🙂
Thanks so much for the support 🙂
Thank you for writing this. You gave me the impetus to get up and go make an appointment with my doctor, after putting it off for so long. Turns out I have seasonal affective disorder and have probably had it for years. This year has been particularly hard, and was enough to send me into a major depressive episode. But now I’m on medication, have an appointment with a therapist, and ordered a SAD light. Asking for help was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but now I feel like I have given myself what I need to get back. Your post, especially the part about not making yourself feel worse, helped give me the motivation to get up and do something to make myself feel better. Good luck on your journey in 2013!
p.s. we’re (almost) boob-twins! and I love your blog!