My picture of depression was of a person who had succumb to laziness.
Then I became depressed but I didn’t realise. I thought depression made you wear dirty clothes, get fat and never leave the house. Honestly, I didn’t really consider the emotional side of it. I just thought it meant sadness.
I was wrong about it all.
Depression for me started because I was isolated during pregnancy. I was really poorly and this lead to long months alone at home with little energy to move. So yes I did sit on the sofa. A lot. I did put on weight. But these things were not caused by the depression, rather, they helped create it. I wasn’t being lazy – it was just my circumstance at the time. Of course as I became more depressed my lack of movement and engagement with the world around me morphed from a cause of depression, to a perpetrator of it. It became a cycle I couldn’t break. Again, I wasn’t being lazy. I was working really hard to achieve something. I just wasn’t achieving very much.
I love lists. LOVE THEM. I write a list most days to remind me of what to do and help me organise and prioritise my time. My lists now are long and by the end of the day I have little left that hasn’t been checked off. It makes me laugh now to think of the list I wrote for my mental health nurse while I was pregnant. She recognised my depression long before me. She gave me a planner to help me set out some simple tasks to achieve. It was split into hours. I only ever wrote an activity for one, maximum two, hours a day. Something like – get dressed. She would say it was great that I had achieved something and I would admit that my one hour long activity in a day with 24 hours had, in fact, been postponed for another day.
I still had no idea I was depressed.
I didn’t feel sad.
Feelings I did feel:
I didn’t feel sad because for me, depression wasn’t about sadness. It was a range of unpleasant emotions that kept me trapped in a cycle of isolation and inactivity. I wasn’t being lazy. I tried to get out and get on. But it was so hard to complete the simplest of tasks.
Eventually, after gentle encouragement from my superb nurse, I started to recognise I was depressed and sought help. I broke out of my prison and life immediately started to get better. There have been bumps on the road but now I know the signs and immediately seek help.
So if this is how you feel, please ask for help. Speak to your gp. Look online for support groups. Go to counselling. Talk. Speak to me. But don’t think that just because you aren’t sad, you are not depressed and don’t deserve help.