Having depression feels like a cyberhacker changing the coding of your brain. You’re wired one way, and then the next minute, you’re an entirely different person. Unlike my Panic Disorder, depression comes and goes for me and I usually experience a major depressive episode once every month or two. One of those episodes occurred this past weekend and forced me to sleep pretty much the entire weekend. Other than that, I worked, attempted to finish homework, cleaned my apartment, and watched a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls (and I hardly ever watch TV).
During these episodes, my normal self almost completely disappears. Those who know me well say I’m very driven, hard-working, joyful, and responsible. However, when depression strikes, I’m completely the opposite: unmotivated, dismal, irresponsible, and exhausted. I basically can’t function and my inner instincts tell me to flee from all the overwhelm.
As a result, I nearly quit my job this past weekend. After facing major depression during the latter half of the week, I decided I could not stay at a job with a “stressful environment” (or at least, my mind said at the time), so I gave my manager my two weeks. However, I realized on Monday that this wasn’t necessarily true. Yes, my job could become stressful sometimes, but the good days overshadow the bad. I revoked my two weeks notice and told my manager all about my horrible emotional impulsivity.
According to Storiedmind, depression can result in long-term social, psychological, and biological changes. One of the psychological effects is fear of situations that may trigger further depression. For me, that was work because I always return home from work very exhausted due to all the hours I stand on a hard tile floor.
You see, depression makes you do crazy things. You feel so drained, exhausted, limp, numb, and careless that you literally feel like you can’t move or leave the house. You can’t face people, and you especially can’t handle responsibilities. You don’t know what you even feel at that point and just want to sleep the day away.
Therefore, I realized the importance of having an action plan during these times. Acknowledging depression is the first step. Once you determined you’re enduring a depressive episode, then you can tell yourself “This is all just a mental game. I can do this.” The real world requires responsibilities, so even though it’s painful, we must learn to navigate everyday life as we face depression.
Second, tell others around you about your depression. I know telling others about mental illness becomes very tough, but it will help in the end. I told my manager and a couple coworkers, and now they have my back. They know if I come in with bags under my eyes and I’m moody that I need extra encouragement. Plus, they often ask about my day or if there’s anything I want to talk about. Discern who you can trust and confide in those people.
Third, don’t isolate yourself––this is crucial for introverts. Yes, alone time is necessary for recharge, but sometimes alone time can actually make depression worse. Find some friends to spend time with, and if they’re all busy, at least sit in an area with people or take a walk outside-–nature can help lift spirits.
Fourth, don’t concentrate on your feelings. This only intensifies them and makes you feel even more depressed. Try distracting yourself with a fun activity, such as reading or your favorite workout.
I hope this helps at least a bit. Fighting depression is hard, but we can’t run away from responsibility either. Don’t give in to the voice that says “you can’t.” Find that little glimmer of hope somewhere that will keep you going.