Depression is real. According to a 2017 study by the World Health Organization, depression affects more than three hundred million people across the globe. That’s close to eleven percent of the population. Think about that. You might think eleven percent is a pretty low number of people but when you look at the math, it’s a little bit terrifying. Then factor in that depression is most prevalent in the fifteen to twenty-nine year old range. Depression is a very real and very terrifying disease. I know. I have it.
Depression versus feeling blue
People who don’t have depression don’t understand how it works. Sometimes, in an effort to be helpful, someone will suggest we “smile more” or “get out more”. Other times, when depression has put you into a place where you have to just sleep it off, they may tell you to just get up and move. They mean well. These are your friends and family. They simply don’t understand that what they are suggesting is great for when you’re having a down in the dumps kind of a day (and believe me, those of us who suffer from depression also get those blue kind of days) but don’t have any bearing on the overall disease. Don’t bite their heads off. Simply ask them to research the type of depression you’ve been diagnosed with.
What? There’s more than one kind of depression?
Yep. Aren’t you glad you stopped by so I could tell you all about all the different strains of depression out there in the world? I know you are. It’s okay, you don’t have to vocalize. You can just smile and know I get it.
When you feel like you’re down in the dumps for more than a handful of days, you may be suffering from mild depression. Irritability, anxiety, and a feeling of just “blah” can all be signs of mild depression. On the upside, this type of depression is most easily solved by changing some of your habits. You can try lifestyle changes, such as getting up to exercise or doing something creative, such as writing a blog. No one expects one lap around the pond will change your outlook but maybe if you walk the pond every day for a week, you might notice a change in your mental state. If not, you may want to consider speaking with someone.
This one is where it’s noticeable to friends and family. You may have troubles with productivity, whether at work or at home. Your brain may start bashing your self-esteem and you may start to believe you’re worthless. Increased sensitivity to commentary can lead to irrational bursts of anger. You may consider going to see someone about perhaps trying some medications, such as SSRIs. You may have some success with seeing a therapist in addition to medication and remember that your medication might be a temporary thing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Welcome to my world. This is the granddaddy of them all. This is the depression that takes the lives of eight hundred thousand people annually. This is the disease that causes people to feel like they are totally worthless. This is the level that therapy is a must and medication can significantly help (and you too can enjoy the medication merry-go-round). Those of us in this category will stab you if you suggest we just need to “get out more”.
Wait. Is that considered premeditation? Oh, it is?
Okay. Those of us in this category would deeply appreciate if you would stop offering the simplest of solutions because we’ve already tried it. Several times, in some cases. We’re also the group that uses sarcasm and humour to deflect people away from realising exactly how screwed up we feel. We’re going to have good days and we’re going to have bad days. If you’re familiar at all with the spoon theory, you’ll understand when I say most of the time, I feel like I’m operating with a half-melted spork and it sucks.
How to help
People always ask me, “Well, how can I help you?” and the answer is, “Sometimes, you can’t.” There are going to be days where we can’t verbalise what we’re trying to say (those are my favourite days, seeing as I’m so dependent upon verbalisation for my career). Sometimes, we’re angry and we can’t really say why. Other times, we’ll be able to say, “hey, I’m just not feeling it today.” and you’ll know it’s a bad brain day.
If you are concerned about someone, friends or family, and you think they might be suicidal, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. They are there twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. There is always someone listening and you can ask for advice on how to help your friend or where to get help for them.
But what about those mild and moderate people?
Understand the good days and bad. Offer to bring over a meal, or be understanding if, at the last minute, they cancel their plans. Wait for us to tell you or show you what we need, don’t presume to know better than we do what we want. Be okay with hugs (super squishy hugs are the best).
So why are we talking about depression?
I know, I’m supposed to be talking about sex. But lately, I’ve been having a lot of bad brain days and it’s hard for me to feel sexy when all I want to do is mope around the house and eat ice cream. I’ve been passing two or three kidney stones a day, which makes me SUPER fun to be around. I can’t even get excited for porn (it’s that bad). I feel like I’m disconnected from a lot of things but I’m fighting. I’m reaching out on Twitter and Facebook, I’m keeping up with people as best I can.
Feel free to leave a message or come chat with me on social media. I may not answer right away but I promise you, I’m seeing every message.
The Dirty Oracle
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