“I’m fine.” How many times have you given this response to the repeating questions, what’s wrong or how are you? More times than you can even recall, at this point, I would imagine. I’m here to tell you it is okay to not be okay.
“I’m fine.” You’ve just said it again for maybe the 1,000th time and you know it just is not true, but it’s easier than attempting to explain how you feel. Nobody wants to hear it, or so you’ve come to believe. You’ve likely begun to irritate even yourself with the way you feel and whine constantly. You’ve talked yourself into the facts that you’re a burden to those around you. It’s difficult to move, function or even breathe most days.
You continue to withdraw further and further from friends, family and those things you have a distant memory of enjoying. Beginning to sink and feel heavier and heavier, but you ask yourself, “What can I do about it?” Feeling this way is not ‘normal’ but who would care, why would they and what do they want from you?
This is a mere glimpse of depression. All through adulthood, any age, 18-101+ years old, people can and do experience these things. You are not alone, far from it, but the shame, guilt and possible repercussions from those around you silence your voice.
The constant ups and downs create this overwhelming sense of entrapment in your day to day life. There’s no escaping what you are; two of the lies you tell yourself. You can’t find any sense of release from your over bearing mind, body and now, lack of spirit.
I’m here to tell you: you are not alone and you can get help. Realizing and admitting these things is a major first step. These symptom you are experiencing: the hopelessness, loss of interest, changes in sleep or eating habits, your anger and irritability and even the self-loathing and overwhelming flashes of despair and sadness…Yes, all of those these many people endure and you can find help.
There is hope at the end of the depression tunnel. It takes work and outreach. There is nothing you can’t handle because you have a 100% success rate so far, right? I know, truly I do, it seems too much when you’re in it, but reach out. Help yourself and those in similar situations to know with certainty there is strength in numbers and you can beat depression.
You can strive and hope for more. You can find your sense of ‘normal’. There is a way to success for you, this will be different for everyone, but living with depression is nothing to be ashamed of. If you notice these various symptoms in friends or family talk to them about it. These things are not weaknesses but symptoms of a serious mental health concern that many battle every day. Be your voice, be the voice a friend in need can lean on. Be there for one another and yourself. You are worth it.
Erika is a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. She has worked as an entertainment & nightlife writer, as well as a model. Her & her husband now live in Indiana with their ferrets. They are very passionate about animal rescue & rehabilitation. She lives with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) PTSD, Depression & Anxiety. Some of her parts struggle with their own individual mental health problems; an ED & OCD to name two. It took many years but she found her voice and now is actively speaking out against the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of assistance for those struggling to reach out. In addition, she also lives with some limiting physical health conditions which unfortunately have made working impossible. For now, she is focused on her writing, speaking engagements, painting and her small family.
You can follow Erika on Twitter.