In October (the best month ever tbh), the world put a lot of effort in bringing about awareness to the reality of Mental Health and although just bringing about awareness does absolutely nothing to actually eradicate this deadly illness, it’s still good that people actually RECOGNIZE that, yo, Mental Illness is a serious thing. In my honest opinion, I think Depression is the #1 ‘silent killer’ affecting so many people around us; it’s really hard to just pick up if someone is depressed and usually we tend to find out when it’s too late. That’s when we wish we had known sooner. That’s when we wish we could’ve been more supportive. It’s not your fault though… Depression is just really sly and knows how to hide itself.
I may be a hypocrite here, because this article was written mainly with the intention of bringing awareness to the different symptoms of depression (Major Depressive Disorder more specifically). I can in no way solve the issues of depression because I don’t know how to solve my own. It’s week 2 and my room is in a serious mess, I’ve been eating like crazy and I can’t remember when last I combed my hair. Call me Depression Susan because I am the embodiment of depression.
When I was younger, I assumed I was suffering from depression but then I just thought it was my teen angst doing the bare maximum. I never openly told people that I thought I was depressed because 1. I knew people would think I’m looking for attention (they still do even after ya girl was diagnosed) and 2. I didn’t know what depression really was. After getting diagnosed in July this year on the request of my mother (I love you, Mom.), I was able to recall all the feelings I felt when I was younger and now I can say that I wasn’t wrong about my self-diagnosis.
According to www.psycom.net, “Major depression, also known as unipolar or major depressive disorder, is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or a lack of interest in outside stimuli.” And talking from experience, that’s a deadly duo. There were times where I’d be in bed for days on end, in my dark room and I wasn’t able to bring myself to doing something I enjoyed (watching anime for example). I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t wanna eat… I was just too sad to do anything. Apart from feeling sad, here are some other signs of MDD:
- Negative thinking/Inability to see positive solutions: In everything I do and in everything I experience, I always think the worst (sorry if I ever annoyed anyone with my morbidity). If I’m ordering food, I always think I’m gonna stutter and say something incoherent. I’m literally dreading this upcoming week as I type this. I’m dead serious. If you notice this sign in any of your interactions with a certain friend or family member or whoever, try your best to help them. Please.
- Exhaustion/Lethargy: Gone are the days when I’d usually walk from school in Belmont all the way down to South Quay without breaking a sweat. Now, I don’t even like walking out of my street every morning for work… And then having to WALK TO WORK. Depression drains you. You’d start to hate standing for long periods of time, you’d get extremely tired after doing things that require minimal energy etc. Now this sign is tricky to pick up on because everyone is tired these days. The key to deciphering it is knowing the difference between physical exhaustion and emotional exhaustion. If you notice that trait or both for that matter, please try to help in whatever way you can. It’ll mean a lot to them and to me.
- Withdrawing from loved ones: I apologize for all the times I’ve declined my friend’s or my family member’s offers to go out and I apologize in advance because I may just do it again. I think people don’t realize that we actually WANT to go out; we want to just forget about our thoughts for a while, but depression tells us that we have done nothing to deserve that self-care and so we stay in, bound by our thoughts and this extreme sadness. Only recently I started going out more (and wearing less ayyyyy LOL jk.) just so that I won’t be stuck in my room with my thoughts but meh I still have my days. If you have a friend or anyone close to you that you suspect is subtly withdrawing themselves and declining any offer to leave their rooms, please help.
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness: For this last one, I would like to give a personal experience I’ve had. When I was younger, I was constantly abused, verbally. If I did something wrong, I would always be yelled at, taking into consideration that the thing I did wrong was always something small. And I always apologized for whatever mistakes I made. Now I’m 20 years old and I still apologize for the smallest of things. I always think things are my fault when things aren’t going well or whenever someone close to me is upset or is lashing out. And because of this, I end up feeling worthless because my depression keeps telling me “Yes Antoria. Everything is your fault. Keep saying sorry. Keep feeling worthless.” Honestly, this is one of the worst feelings and symptoms of depression. It makes you feel empty. You begin feeling like a burden. And I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. If you notice any of these traits in your daily interactions with a friend or family member, I urge you. Please help.
There are more signs, unfortunately, but I wanted to keep this article short because f’sure next week’s post is gonna be rather long. I urge every reader to keep your eyes open. Depression has no face. Look out for the subtle signs. It could save someone’s life.