I’ve had noticeable symptoms of depression since I was about 9, so I’ve had a lot of time to feel different types of depression over the years. I’m almost 25 now, and my mood is still not totally managed. It is not typically caused by situations or my environment, though those may make it worse.
When I was in elementary and early middle school, it manifested as anger. Typical in adolescents. I was always angry. I felt a lot of hatred. First it was for other people, but as time passed and the voices whispered in my ears, it turned to me. I have hated myself in a lot of ways since then, though I’ve gotten better about fighting that. I’m now able to recognize good things about myself. I’m usually good about resisting the urge to punish myself, though I did go through a drinking phase last year for several months. That was a result of self-hatred.
As I transitioned to my teenage years, it turned to flat depression. I had my first bad episode when I was 12. It lasted for a few months. I had always had attendance issues in school since the chronic migraines in elementary school and increasing mental health problems. My mom didn’t know I missed school because I was depressed–she was so exhausted and trying to support my brother, sister, and me that she didn’t have the energy to fight with me about it. My grades were still good and I was a likable person, so school faculty didn’t get on us about it.
During the flat depression, I stopped eating. I would go maybe two or three days without eating, eat a snack, maybe a baked potato or something easy. I vividly remember that, when my teacher was weighing us in PE class and she got to me, she leaned in and asked, “Are you eating?” I’d thought I was masking it so well; having someone notice enough to ask that scared me. I withdrew from my friends and social life, stopped playing video games so much. Stopped reading. During the times I wasn’t at school, I lay in bed and dissociated until I fell asleep. I’d alternate between staring at the wall and sleeping. This was my first real experience with flat depression. After a couple of months, I went to my mom. She took me to a doctor and I got on antidepressants. It didn’t make it much better, but it helped enough.
The next type of depression was part of mood cycling. This started when I was 15 and was admittedly more related to bipolar–but depression is part of bipolar, so I’m counting it here. These depressions weren’t as deep, but they were just as destructive.
Typically for me, when I experience depression during mood cycling, it’s a very quick drop. Within a minute or two, my mood will plummet to a fearful, hopeless depression. Whereas with the flat depression, my thoughts aren’t affected as much, mood cycling depression has a heavy impact on my thoughts. I’m normally a pretty strong optimist, all in all. During mood cycling depression, I find myself having negative thoughts about everything. Thoughts of how my guy (the situation is a tad bit complicated–not committed relationship at the moment) might be involved with another woman, thoughts of how I’m a lost cause, thoughts of how useless I am and how little I contribute, etc.. Mood cycling depression strongly influences my thoughts which, in turn, influence my emotions.
For the past several years, it has alternated between flat depression and mood cycling depression. Sometimes there are situations that influence it, which usually leads to mood cycling. Other times, there is no trigger or contributor, and that is usually a flat depression. For the latter half of 2022, I was mostly stable and didn’t feel much depression at all. Just normal sadness. It was the first time I can remember in my life where I just felt sad, not depressed.
Depression–as a symptom or as the disorder itself–shows itself in different ways at different times for different people. As a chronic illness, especially developed at an early age, it is likely to change and evolve over time. That’s one reason it needs to be monitored regularly and treatment can occasionally change.
Anger, flat, cycling… Probably more varieties. Depression in any form is an agonizing, terrifying experience.
2 thoughts on “Episode 46 – Shades of Sorrow”
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Thank you 💙 It took a few days to write! They’re not usually so difficult