I was diagnosed with Depression when I was about sixteen years old. It felt weird to be labelled something that sounded so heavy. “Depressed”. But, here it is. I am Depressed. I am a Depressed Christian, daughter, sister, coworker, friend, people pleasing community builder.
The thing about Depression that no one actually tells you is that it isn’t just during certain seasons. It’s not for a few weeks here and there. It’s every day, every breath, fighting monsters exhausting. There are a few things I should confess to you and ask for your help in these areas!
- I’m nearly always tired. My job doesn’t help this at all. Really. I’ve got the most wonky work schedule of all time which means that my self-care meter is terrible. I’m lucky if I get four or five hours of sleep. Also, life is just harder when you’re expected to be happy all of the time. Or “normal” or whatever. I am the lightest sleeper ever, so once I’m up, I’m up. Making sure that I have down time is INSANELY important. Time to wake up is important to. I wake up best when it’s quiet and I have awhile. I am thankful for people that allow me wind down and remind me to do so. Don’t be offended when that means that I ignore my phone or wear my headphones, I need to be in my own headspace.
- I don’t eat when I’m supposed to. Most of the time, I don’t even notice! Yesterday, in fact, I completely forgot to eat until about 8:30pm. Luckily, one of the vending machines at work has healthy options in it, so I was able to grab apple slices and peanut butter and have a snack. I have a few friends that bring me lunch, dinner and snacks when they visit. These people assist in my wellness.
- You cannot pray it away. Look, I love Jesus. A lot. I’ve had a lot of people tell me to “just cheer up” or to “let go and let God!” If I could, I totally would but, it doesn’t always work like that. Praying for me and with me will bring me comfort, but, my Depression is chemical. It’s not a choice. Be on my team, but don’t try to fix it.
- Panic Attacks are REAL things. I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety forever. (Officially, for 12 years, but unofficially, it’s been my entire life.) It’s not my way of getting attention or something that I can control, it’s my body’s response to high stress or the build up of tons of tiny stressors. If you happen to be around when this happens. Be with me. Sit with me. Whisper with me. Be reassuring.
- Medication Does Not Deliver Us From Bad Seasons. “Are you taking medication?” is, in fact and accusation more than it’s a help. I do have As Needed medications, but they don’t make sad go away. They don’t make tired go away. They don’t fix grumpy. Medication is NOT a one and done fix for the problem.
- I know it stresses you out. My family and friends have dealt with my depression for long enough that I know when they’ve had enough. I’ve had fights because of it more often than I can handle. I am unorganized. Not by choice. But, during the bad seasons, my life explodes in very visible ways. I can’t tell you how horrible I feel about that. But, please know that I don’t do it on purpose. Know that I love you. Know that I want to share good days with you, but bad days might as well be days in bed for me as not to bother you with them.
- I am about Creature Comforts. If you see me with my headphones in, a book in my hand and a latte next to me, let me have that. I will talk to you when I’m ready. I might be escaping some monsters at the moment. So, let me do what makes me happy. I’ll come to you, I promise. If you want to be the one delivering the pizza, making the playlists or giving the hugs, I would love that! Do that!
- It’s completely fine that I don’t want to talk about it. I can only speak for myself here, but I’ve also heard other people with depression say this. I don’t talk to you about it because I don’t want to burden you. Don’t push it. Don’t keep asking questions, just be available. I’ll come around.
- I’m not always up to be touched. I’m actually REALLY big on this. I’m a hugger. I love to hug people. It’s one of my favourite things on this planet. It does, however, require a level of safety and security for me. If I don’t really know you or I’m having a heavily emotional/anxious day, you might not want to touch me. I might not respond as positively as you hope or feel great about my response.
- I want to better. I really do, I promise.
If you or someone you love deals with depression. It’s okay to ask for help.
Visit twloha.com for some of my favourite resources on finding help.