This is how I live with depression  

9 March 2023
Anonymous Written by Anonymous

*This story is written by someone who wishes to keep themselves anonymous. Their story, however, is real. 

What’s funny is that I’ve been quite happy and at peace for the last week or so. I feel I’ve traveled a long way and can finally rest my bag and take a breather. I finally feel I have a little control over myself, my emotions, my moods, and my energy levels! I’ve been taking cautious small steps towards healing, but what’s also been happening is that I cry almost every day. 

In the last few years, I’ve cried so much. It’s safe to say crying is a close friend, like drinking. 

For the longest time, I didn’t know I lived with depression. Now that I know what it is, it’s a lot simpler to handle because I’m like, ok, my old friend is here again! It’s low-key depression, which escalated at various stages of my life. 

Today I take antidepressants. I still don’t know the full effect of my meds cause I still get depressed! So, I wonder how much worse it would be without medication! 

But you see, the thing about depression is that it’s one of those things that most people may not even recognize cause it shows up differently at different times and mostly in unexpected moments. When I was younger, I remember feeling suicidal so many times! I used to cut myself so often in my teens. There were periods when the clouds lifted, but they always came back. Most recently, after losing my job and breaking up my marriage of 16 years.

Sometimes being depressed is such a well-known comfort zone. A place you think you can’t leave and will always come back to every time you feel bad about something 

Recently I tried to fight this comfort zone. I tried to think of what would make me feel good right now – and the answer was there. In the form of a bark. My dogs! My dogs can instantly make me smile or feel secure. Getting out of your comfort zone could also be something as simple as a warm hug from a dear friend or partner. 

Sometimes the warm hug and dog shield aren’t enough. That’s when the dopamine of a long walk can help. Maybe, ice cream or ramen. A good movie or book. And even sleep. Everything is better after a nap! 

But despite that, there are times when nothing works – helplessness, pain, frustration, fear, anxiety, sadness, so much sadness, disappointment, mourning – these are the other emotions that tag along. And the voices in my head! All are part of the ecosystem of depression. What does depression feel like? A bit like this:

Darkness of depression 

This is how I live with depression  

I think of cold icy fingers, which are long and wrinkled parts of a skinny hand with sharp pointed nails – slowly reaching out just the hand & fingers

Suddenly I turn my head, and those icy fingers brush my cheek 

The coldness runs into my face and then trickles inside my whole body – this happens very slowly, so slowly that I can neither stop nor control it! 

It feels more physical initially before it gets into my mind 

The hair on the back of my neck stands up, and a chill runs down my spine 

The darkness descends like a fog blinding whatever little sense that remains. 

What I do to manage my depression

What I do know is that removing triggers from your life can help. 

This is a very painful process – identifying triggers and then walking away! It took me 4 years or more to finally understand that my marriage was unhealthy. To finally say ok, I cannot live with this trigger any longer you know! Despite that, I still question it. Did I make the right decision?

But then, I realize – there is no right or wrong way. It is ONLY about what works for you right now. What can help you be the best version of yourself at this moment or make you wake up in the morning? To ask yourself, ‘Do I deserve more than this? The answer is yes. Because you don’t just want to live. You want to do more than survive. You want to thrive.

So this is my mantra now – I ask myself at every step – I check in with myself – all the time. 

But I miss my old self so much. I’m so shocked at who I am today! But this year, I’ve promised to get to know the new me. She is a strong independent force of nature. And why not right? I have to finally live my own truth. 

Epilogue – This is a small part of my story of living with depression. It could be different for each of you. Be kind and seek support. 1 out of 3 people goes through a period of depression. Some can overcome and move on. Some live with it forever and learn to manage it. Whatever your journey is, do remember you can get through this. There is help out there to help you manage it better. 

You can always DM @mysecretadhd, and I am happy to guide you to find the right support (I’m not a doc but a friendly ear)