Most people have some level of understanding of depressive symptoms: sadness, hopelessness, sleep issues, appetite issues, etc. There is so much more though that people may not realize.
Firstly, the person with depression may not be thinking clearly, for example, a friend told me how hopeful she is that I will feel better soon and my interpretation of that was that she did not actually care about me. One plus one does not always equal two in the mind of someone who is depressed. My cognition is greatly impaired and while I can be aware at times of this impairment, the thoughts and feelings feel very real to me. It leaves me in a constant struggle internally which is heartbreaking and energy consuming. This is on top of those “known” symptoms of hopelessness, helplessness, extreme fatigue, low appetite and feelings and thoughts of worthlessness.
Also, my experience is that there is no rhyme or reason in terms of the severity and timing of symptoms. Yesterday morning I felt okay whereas this morning I woke feeling a lot of anxiety. Each day is different right now which is also exhausting. I have no idea what to expect.
I also need what I call “babysitting.” My husband does not want me to be alone for a long period of time. While I can understand this from his perspective, from mine it simply means I am needy and weak and have to impose on others when my husband is not around. I feel like a child and embarrassed. I do not like to put people out and I do not like changing people’s schedules in order to benefit myself. I realize this may not sound like someone who is grateful to have such wonderful people supporting her but this is how my cognition is currently running.
I also feel as if every slight and every unfortunate life incident is my fault, whether it be dropping and breaking a glass or tripping and falling. My inner monologue: Of course, these are all my fault and if I weren’t so stupid these things would not have happened.
What my friends may not realize is that the quick text checking in or the quick call is so helpful. Even if I am not talkative in that moment, I know they are there and will be there to help in any way they can. This may not be well conveyed by me but I mean it. There are not any grand gestures they need to do. Just knowing they are there is extremely supportive and helpful for me.
This is my life right now, every hour, sometimes I feel it every second. It is relentless and to say it is exhausting is not giving it the power it has. My negative thoughts can be terrifying at times and only adds another layer to this experience that I am fighting with all that I can.
This is hard. This is scary. This is real. This is more of what my depression does to me and my life.