I thought since it had been a long day, I’d post one of our older posts. I’d love to see all the new voices chiming in!
I am hoping you can speak to the symptoms of the depression side of your illness…as it is very much related just as we are Marybeth! I think there are so many people out there who don’t realize they could be happier or handling life so much better if the just recognized a few symptoms. I have become friends with gals that remind me of myself before I sought help and it is hard to just stand by.
So…question…what are some major symptoms of depression (other than suicidal thoughts) that caused you to seek help?
I don’t think it was ever suicidal thoughts that caused me to seek help. After all, when one is suicidal, the last thing they want is help. (Unless it’s help opening a bottle of asprin with a child proof lid…or am I the only adult who has trouble with those?) When one is suicidal they usually aren’t going to seek help, at least not directly.
I wasn’t the first one to seek help for me, it was actually my (your) mother. (Ann rocks!!! Just saying….) I was able to somewhat manage my depression (on and off) for quite a few years, and/or hide it well enough to believe I was managing it.
Unfortunately it was hitting rock bottom that made me really seek out the help I needed. It took me losing everything (including three of my closest friends) and getting in a huge fight with my husband to finally hit that jagged rocky floor. I can’t say that I wasn’t really looking for help before that day, however, I was looking for it in all the wrong places.
I was expecting my friends to notice something was wrong and suggest I do something about it. And when they failed to do so I was expecting my husband to understand and somehow make it better, but he couldn’t. Only one person could really help me, and that was…well…me!
I knew something was wrong. I knew the day I sat on my porch and cried for two hours straight. I knew the day I walked out of work and drove myself to my favorite place and cried for another two hours straight. I knew, when after fighting with my husband who was, in his own way, telling me something was wrong, I stared at my little miniature suitcase and dreamed of all the places I could go to run away….while crying.
Running away wasn’t going to help though. I was off my meds because I felt like they weren’t working. (That should have been the first clue) and I was broken. Broken into so many tiny pieces that all the kings men and all the kings horses had a better shot of putting that damn egg back together than they did trying to pick me up.
So as I stared at the little suitcase I made a decision. I was going to run away, but not to anywhere I actually wanted to go. Instead I walked out of my house, suitcase in hand, and drove myself to the hospital.
I don’t think we go without noticing our depression. I mean, when I was sleeping 18 hours a day, I knew I was depressed. But we tell ourselves that it’s temporary. It will go away. It’s not a problem, not a real one at least. It’s just a stressful time.
Newsflash! It’s life, it’s ALWAYS a stressful time. Even when life is good, something is stressful. It’s just the way things work.
We are in denial. Nobody wants to be sick. How many times have you started to feel a cold or the flu come on and you still went about your daily routine swearing up and down, “I am NOT sick.” only to crash two days later because you refused to read the signs and take care of yourself right from the beginning? Depression is no different. We know the signs. We see the signs. We choose to ignore the signs.
And I hate to say it, but when I am depressed, there is no possible way of convincing me that life could possibly get better … ever!
Also, and I’m sure many people may not agree with me on this, but I think depression is kind of an addiction. Stay with me on this one…. I’m not sure if it’s the extra attention we are seeking, the need for someone to notice us, or the fact that maybe we don’t want to get better because if we get better what will happen if it gets worse again? So we cling to that depression, because it’s all we know. We hate it, yet it’s comfortable. We can’t stand being sad, yet we crave it’s return. Because when we feel depressed, as strange as it sounds, we feel normal. I know that sounds borderline crazy, but there has to be someone out there who agrees with me on this one?
Needless to say, after rambling on for a good three novels worth of a post, your friends probably do KNOW that they can be happy. But there is something stopping them from doing so. Whether it be they are afraid to get better, afraid to admit they are not well, afraid that going on medications will “change them”, or afraid that they’ll find their way back to their dark place again anyways, they are in some sort of denial.
I would (cautiously) suggest talking to them. Tell them you’re concerned. Share my story, share your story, share any story and give them hope. Ask them what it is they are afraid of. Try to help them understand better and let them know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I know this is far easier said than done, but I’m not really sure there is much else you can do for them.
As for what those signs are…here are a few to look for.
- they can’t sleep or they sleep too much (I was the queen of sleeping too much!)
- they can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult (like brushing your teeth or taking a shower or cooking a meal)
- they feel hopeless and helpless (in a VERY Eyore sort of way)
- they can’t control their negative thoughts, no matter how much you try (And I’ve tried it!)
- they have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating (I stop eating…it’s a lovely diet plan! Not really!)
- they are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual (Now this is a hard one if your normally an irritable person….though that’s not me…not at all…What? No one asked you Rebecca!)
- they have thoughts that life is not worth living (You don’t have to be suicidal per say to think life isn’t worth living. When I drove myself to the hospital I did not think or really want to kill myself, but that doesn’t mean that thought sounded appealing…if that makes any sense)
And remember …
If you know they are thinking about harming themselves, we advise you to seek help immediately.
You can get help by doing one of the following:
- Call a doctor.
- Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
Make sure the suicidal person is never left alone.