Episode 3 – Definition of Depression (Part 2)

Depression can hit anyone at any time, with or without reason. That first depressive episode had no trigger that I can remember. In fact, I had what I would consider a pretty damn perfect life at that point. I had physical issues with Chiari malformation – constant headaches, for one thing – but I was still one of the top students in the school, one of the best singers in choir, the best saxophone player in the band, the best defender on my soccer team, and a very effective volleyball player, with a lot of friends and a social life to top it off. Believe me, I had no reason to be depressed.

Clinical depression shows itself in a variety of symptoms. Each individual may experience a different combination of symptoms to varying degrees of severity. The most common and “basic” symptoms are:

  • obviously, feeling down or depressed;
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feelings of guilt
  • loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • increases or decreases of appetite
  • changes in weight
  • increases or decreases in sleep
  • slow speaking or slow movements

Social withdrawal or isolation, flat affect, or changes in hygiene – fewer showers, not brushing teeth or hair, generally no longer caring for appearance or self-care – are also common symptoms. Self-harm and suicide can be dangerous results of depression. I myself have self-harmed, but never attempted suicide, as much as I’ve wanted to sometimes.

Depression looks different for everyone. When I have a depressive episode, I shut down instead of acting out, which is probably ultimately why I haven’t committed suicide. Some people do impulsive things, some people plan things, some people hurt themselves, and still other people don’t act because of fear or other reasons. Some people, like me, have plans and suicidal ideations. I have my own reasons for not acting on them.

I urge people who feel these things to think long and hard on why they should keep themselves alive. For me, it’s the thought of the people I care about and love, whether it’s returned or not. I keep myself alive to make sure they’re safe, and I do whatever I can to keep them safe. Another reason, albeit a smaller one, is that I know that things can get better. Brain chemistry is always changing, with changes in medications, in diet, in exercise and sleep patterns, in hard thought analysis and control.

Sometimes, when you’re depressed or with any other illness, there are things that you have to do to make it bearable, even though you shouldn’t have to. Even if you wouldn’t have to if your illness didn’t exist. It’s not fair, but there’s only so much within our control. We have to do what we can with what we have. Even if a change in diet alone or any one treatment method won’t cure us, the extra effort will hopefully make it easier, or at least keep us a little occupied while we try to reach long-term goals.

I will never tell someone that things will get better, because that’s not a promise I can or should make, especially to someone who suffers from chronic illness that is likely to recur. But things can get better if we let them. Sometimes we have to take initiative and do what we can, even if it’s exhausting or seems impossible. It might work or it might not, but at the very least, we have to keep trying.

Published by Rawry

I'm just a writer and gamer living in the middle of nowhere..

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