- What is depression?
Clinical depression (major depression) is a common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you act or think. Depression Causes a feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It often leads to both emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Fortunately, depression is treatable.
What it feels like to live with depression
My depression started with sadness…There is a difference between depression and sadness. For example, Loss of a loved one is a difficult experience for a person to endure. In this situation, the individual experience painful feelings intertwined with positive memories of the deceased. However, in major depression, mood and pleasure are decreased for the must two weeks coupled with feelings of worthlessness. The sadness I thought was normal due to limited physical ability my body has to now adapt to. I was an able and hyperactive woman who would stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Life had thrown me to the curve more than I could count, but I had always managed to find my way back to my path. However, illness has thrown me deep down the rabbit hole that finding my path seemed impossible. I became angry at the world, irritated by what others will not even blink about. I could not see past my physical limitations. The things that once brought me happiness mattered no more. The Noise of my kids became a trigger for my anger, I felt like my family was suffocating me. I felt empty inside. It did not matter how many times my family reassured me of their love, or how supportive they try to be. I wanted to disappear as if my pain would also disappear. The so strong, guarded woman is nowhere to be found, my faith was shaken as I started questioning everything. Eventually, I found my path, but it wasn’t without help.
How I found my way back
It all began with one simple question, “What is the most important thing to me ?”. Anybody who knows me would say the most important thing to me is my family. It became clear I have a decision to make. I either accept help and enjoy my family or refuse help from the professionals, support from my family and live in sadness and self-loathing. It took every ounce of strength in me to accept help and acknowledge that even the strongest among us are not immune to depression. Accepting help is the best thing one could do when dealing with mental health. There is no quick fix to getting out of the rabbit hole of mental illness, it takes effort, patience, empathy for self, consistency, and understanding to see a positive result.
What helps me?
The first step to getting better is to accept that you are depressed. It can be extremely difficult to acknowledge this. The stigma associated with mental health makes it strenuous to seek help. I started writing my feelings and thoughts in a journal, this helped me filtered rational and irrational feelings and thoughts. Also, I sought professional help to manage my depression. I had to learn about depression and how it affects my body and mind. Below is a list of my coping mechanism for depression:
- Practice relaxation technique
- Take a walk for 10 minutes three times a day
- Structured routine
- Bedtime routine
- Accept help from loved ones
- Eat healthily diet
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Create a support system
- Do things that make me feel good
- Join a support group for depression
- Keep stress in check
- Develop a “wellness toolbox” for depression, these are things I do for a quick mood boost. For example, prayer, music, a long hot bath, spend some time in nature.
My support team
I leaned on my husband, friends, and family for support; not everyone understood my predicament but I focus my energy on the ones ready to listen and help. My husband was and still is my number one supporter, he had a lot of learning to do but that did not scare him away. He’s a God-given husband and friend, I appreciate you, dear husband. To my friend, Jennifer, I say thank you for your endless support and love. You are indeed a friend to cherish, my family loves you to the moon and back. May God’s blessing never depart from your household. And Adeola, my friend from way back, thank you for loving and accepting me for who I am. I know I can be hard on you sometimes, and exceptionally blunt with you, I hope you know it’s coming from a good place. I love you. To my family all around the world, I say thank you for your prayers and love. And last but not least, my kids, know that you are my strength, my motivation, my world, the fire in me that burn every weakness and the force that propels me to move forward. You and your father are the best gifts the Almighty blessed me with and I love you with my whole being. I am grateful to have all these people in my corner, I deserve nothing but God gives me everything I need.
How do you deal with depression? How does having depression affects your life and loved ones? Perhaps, it’s your loved one living with depression, how does this affect your relationship with him? Do you have a support team? How does this team make you feel?