Mental health

The truth behind the mask

I had depression for many years but being an illness of the mind it is mostly hidden. I did my best to hide what was going on underneath, I put a mask on and told everyone I was ok. At times I managed this well, at others it was impossible. These are my insights into the symptoms of depression:

“The world is dark, literally lost all colour, there is no light and there is no hope of there ever being any light. If someone could put the light on it would disappear into the void. I’m doing everything I can, taken every piece of advice and I’ve had great support but nothing’s working.”- Feeling hopeless and helpless

“I don’t enjoy anything. I don’t want to do anything. I feel alone in a busy room, I feel crowded in an empty room. I try to enjoy something but nothing happens, I feel desolate. I just go through the motions.” – Anhedonia

“I feel like I’m walking through treacle and my brain is full of cotton wool. Everything is slower I’m so exhausted, the smallest task is hard work. I’m running on empty but I just keep going.” – Lack of energy

“Lying awake, praying for sleep but it just won’t come. The nights seem endless; if I do snatch a few minutes sleep my dreams are bleak. I still get up every morning, I just know I should.” – Insomnia (some people sleep more)

 “I know I need to eat but I’m just not interested. Even when I do eat, it doesn’t give me energy so what’s the point?” – Decreased appetite (increased appetite for some)

 “I used to read novels, I had to switch to short stories, then to poems, then to magazine articles. Now I’m lucky if I can get to the end of a sentence and remember the beginning. I sit in front of the TV but I don’t watch it, I have no idea what’s going on even if I watch a programme I used to enjoy, it’s pointless. Following a conversation takes very bit of energy but I keep trying.” – Lack of concentration

“I know I must think positively but everything is dark, there is no hope, these are the facts I feel. I’ve tired mantras such as “I can get better” and “things will improve”, I’ve written them down, I’ve said them out loud but what’s the point if I repeat them time after time and they never come true?” – Overwhelming negative thoughts

 “Everything irritates me, I irritate myself, I don’t like being around myself, I’m horrible to be around, I think it best I don’t impose myself on anyone else.” – Feeling more irritable, short-tempered or aggressive

 “I hurt everywhere, my head hurts, my shoulders, my arms and my legs hurt, these are physical pains. I also have emotional pain, my heart aches, I feel bereaved as though I’ve lost myself.” – Unexplained aches and pains

At times I was told to “fake it ’til you make it” – this was incredibly unhelpful, faking it didn’t work for me, it kept me stuck, it was a old pattern. Pretending everything is ok isn’t helpful, nor is talking doom and gloom all the time.
Recovery for me was about taking my mask off, being honest and finding a balance…that’s a story for another blog 🙂

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