Major depressive disorder. It sounds so ominous and foreboding. Almost alarming to those that hear it and most try to avoid “hearing” it.
I avoided getting diagnosed for almost 23 years but I had to finally face it when my thoughts spiraled out of control one day and I could no longer stop the inevitable train wreck that I was becoming. It was the worst and best day of my life.
The worst because it altered the path I was walking on forever. It’s been a lonely path to walk on ever since. That one thought “loneliness” I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s been a harsh and bittersweet pill to swallow but was necessary. I knew that when I took that first step. It was the only way I could ever recover and find a way to get back to “living” life again.
It was the best day because I finally “released” all the feelings that had been bottled up in my psyche. The thoughts and feelings that felt like splinters in my mind every day. They caused so much doubt and insecurity within myself sometimes I felt like I was wearing a mask. That “pleasant mask” version that was agreeable with everyone, even to those that were purposefully hurtful. The struggle to continue to wear it was becoming more and more unbearable. I was finally able to take the mask off and let people really see who I was. The not so pleasant person full of anger, mistrust and bitterness desperate to regain control over my life.
The therapy and counseling have been a slow process of picking out these splinters of thoughts, analyzing, categorizing and finding a solution to ensure they don’t come back. It’s been an agonizing process that only others going through the same will ever understand.
I don’t like to use the word “disorder” when I describe my condition. I prefer “organized chaos” because I know what the problems are, I know what caused them and I chose to finally deal with them. There are others out there unfortunately have not made that choice yet and they will struggle until they do. No one can make that choice for the individual and they have to be ready. Most are not ready and are just managing.
You probably see it every day in others and don’t realize it.
Pain. A person “constantly” in some sort of pain not due to an illness. One that complains of neck, back, headache or stomach pain. These physical ailments are sometimes signs of depression but could also be related to an undiagnosed illness.
Weight fluctuations. A person whose weight varies or fluctuates either being over or under. This “outward” appearance can be an indicator of an “inner” turmoil that they are experiencing which could be related to depression.
Anger. A person that appears to be angry, frustrated or irritable normally on a daily basis may be a sign of depression as well. This is one symptom that I never knew was a possible sign of depression until recently. I always assumed it was a separate disorder all together.
Neutral. A person who appears to be distant, aloof, cold or indifferent to people or situations may possibly have depression as well. Once again I assumed that it was just a personality trait until a friend was diagnosed with both depression and borderline personality disorder. I always just thought that was just the way she carried herself.
Alcohol. Excessive drinking above what could be considered normal can be a sign of depression which is different from alcoholism. I know from experience that binge drinking was prevalent in my early twenties to the point of blacking out. It was at this time that I also first started attending counseling sessions to deal with my anger and temper issues.
Online excessively. Used as a way of “escaping” problems either through social media, shopping, gambling or gaming. This form of dealing with the unpleasant feeling of depression can also become excessive to the point of interfering with daily life.
Daydreaming. People sometimes daydream as a way of breaking up a routine, to think creatively or work through an issue but it can be become habit used to also escape problems that need to be faced. This also can interfere with one’s daily routine.
Indecisiveness. Normal every day routines can become taxing or stressed when depression is present for the individual. The inability to make simple decisions can be affected and increase the anxiety for the person. Others may view the person as unreliable or wishy-washy.
Personal grooming. A depressive state normally affects not only how a person works or performs but can also take a toll on how he or she views themselves. The motivation to shower, change or even brushing one’s hair can be hindered. This can also affect other personal care routines such as eating and sleeping.
Clutter. An outward sign that other people can see is a cluttered home. Excessive hoarding is partly due to depression but is also considered a separate disorder. Clutter would include unwashed dishes, laundry not being done or even just general constant messiness that would affect all areas of their environment.
Finances. Depression affects a person’s ability to make decisions. A major decision that affects every day life is money. So the inability to make good decisions concerning finances can be affected. Personal experiences relating to money issues including debt, late fees, overdue bills, cut off notices, no savings or emergency plan, no retirement, foreclosure, repossession and numerous credit lines became overwhelming then exacerbating the depression and anxiety. This situation can be devastating when a couple are both in a depressive state and not facing the issues or getting help as was the situation I was in for 17 years.
All of these symptoms listed are just some of the more common things a person with depression may be experiencing but could also be a sign of something else only the person being affected would know what the underlying cause would be.
These symptoms could also be a temporary phase if a person is a depressive state due to an illness, grieving or in a state of change to their normal daily life.
Once I began counseling is when I was made aware that the things that caused the most anxiety and stress were actually part of my depression.
This has helped with dealing with the issues at hand knowing that as I get mentally and emotionally stronger the symptoms will start subsiding.
Most of the symptoms have become less prevalent once I started developing better coping skills. The others like the financial situation are just going to take time to fix and it’s not going to happen overnight. Patience, not one of my virtues, is being tested on that part but I know I will eventually get to the place I need to be.
It will all just take time, staying motivated, knowing when to take a break and finding that deep down strength to keep me moving forward.
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great week!