I feel the signs coming on. My smiles are becoming more fake. I don’t seem to take joy in the things that kept me happy. I am not sleeping. I have lost my appetite. I find human interaction cumbersome and annoying. I find myself staring blankly at nothing at all. Things I could forgive are unforgivable. Things I could ignore are unavoidable. Things I thought I was coping with sit like lead stones in my stomach. People don’t understand. People don’t listen. People don’t help. People don’t care.
I am becoming depressed.
I have been able to pick up on the sudden warning signs that lead to my feelings of depression. I say sudden, but they are not. They start off as subtle reactions to little things in my life that I would usually have no perception of. The noise of the office around me. The greasy feel of a shared keyboard. The smell of bleach as I enter work. I feel them prickling my mind, but ignore them because those things don’t matter. And they don’t. What does matter is that I’m perceiving them as an annoyance. That’s when I should have known to check in on myself.
But I didn’t and a few weeks later when my boss asks me to send an email or my wife asks me to pick something up I feel a sudden deep sadness. I can’t cope. I’m not heard. That’s what my depression wants. It devours these emotions, hungering for more. More and more my perception is filled with things that seem to hurt on a level I can’t consciously understand. Everything people do or say is spiteful and designed to repress me. A smile is a stab to the heart. Laughter is maniacal and cruel. The offer of help is a suggestion I am mad. When someone asks me if I’m okay they know a deep secret about me that others are a part of.
My mind has lost its ability to filter and focus. It has begun to consume everything in a way that suppresses my ability to feel happy.
Does any of this seem familiar? If it does, there are ways to cope, but only if you know what to look for in yourself. Do your self-checks:
- What – What is causing me to feel this way now? Was there a particular thing that started it?
- Why – Why has this caused my slump? Why has affected it me?
- How – How do I repel these feelings?
The how is difficult to reconcile, after all if this was easy depression would be very easy to fix. But thinking about what works for you is a good place to start redressing the imbalance in your mind. By focusing your attention on things that you can use as a barrier to depression is the beginning of the battle to defeat it.
However, if you can’t see a way to hold off how you feel, you may have passed the point where your depression is manageable without help. There are lots of organisations out there who offer various services to those who need support:
Turn2Me (online mental healthcare)
Grassroots Suicide Prevention (offer services for people who are in crisis)
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other services where you can seek help and a kind ear. Remember, seeking help for depression is like going to your doctor when you feel physically ill. Early prevention is the key and self awareness of how you feel is important. Check in on yourself when you feel low and don’t allow your inner demons to grow.