People often hide their depression well. We don’t want to worry our loved ones. We fear being judged and stigmatized—even now when mental illness is much better understood and accepted than in decades past. We may see our disease as a weakness, something that we need to tackle alone. Maybe we’re in denial, hiding our depression not only from others but from ourselves.
Coping with Depression
I’m still struggling with the negative self-talk that often comes with depression. Many of you have probably experienced this in some form or other—a nagging voice in the back of your mind that fixates on all things negative, constantly reminding you of your failures and flaws. For me, this voice is especially frustrating because I know it isn’t logical. I have, overall, a happy and fortunate life. Yet sometimes, I can’t help feeling defeated or worthless over a relatively minor event, like forgetting to run an errand or even burning the toast. When depression rears its ugly head, my negative self-talk magnifies the smallest perceived failures a hundredfold.
Last year, I quit my soul-sucking corporate job to pursue my true passion: writing. It impacted my depression in unexpected ways; in fact, it made my depression worse.
I’m Rachel Craft, and I’m excited to join the "Coping with Depression" blog at HealthyPlace. I was diagnosed with depression over a decade ago in college. As a type-A perfectionist, I was constantly overwhelmed with stress and never got enough sleep. My habitually low self-esteem took a dive at one point, and I developed an eating disorder and started experimenting with self-harm. It was a terrifying period of my life because I realized I might not survive if I didn’t find help.
Life can get hard when things don't go as planned, and this is one of those situations. After writing for HealthyPlace about depression for three years and four months, I had no idea my journey would be cut short. Due to worsening mental health struggles, I have decided to stop writing about depression as an act of self-care. This is my last post for the "Coping with Depression" blog, and I want to express my gratitude to team HealthyPlace and my readers.
When someone dies by suicide, condolences pour in both online and offline. People grieve the loss of the deceased individual via statements like, "If only they had reached out to me before taking this step, I would have helped them." Unfortunately, this is untrue. It is trendy to pay lip service to mental health (or the lack thereof). Whether it's organizations or individuals, #MentalHealthMatters as long as it doesn't inconvenience anyone. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Depression often makes me want to do nothing. Whether it's due to demotivation, apathy, fatigue, or despair, I only want to sleep as much as possible. When I know in my gut that I need the rest, I sleep and feel better the next day. But I usually fight the urge to do nothing because giving in to it makes my depression worse. This seems to be a common issue for depressives, and knowing my reasons may help you figure out yours.
Of late, life has become pretty humorless. I don't find anything funny; on the contrary, I cringe at jokes that get laughs out of most people. If others' jokes have this effect, it's a given that I cannot see the funny side of things myself. And to think I used to be a mischievous twentysomething. Well, my grim outlook and lack of a sense of humor are more a result of depression than a side effect of growing up.
July 12, 2022, was when my life changed forever. On this day, I got diagnosed with double depression, and I have been unable to come to terms with it. Even though I suspected it for a while, I don't know how to accept this as my reality. And I know it will be many moons before I do so.
Are you struggling to do things that were previously effortless? From eating breakfast to sending a text message, does everything seem impossible? Before you label yourself lazy or incapable, know this: it's not you; when everything seems impossible, it's depression.