Everyone experiences depression in their own way..
As someone who has been back in that hole a couple of times now, I know when I stop doing some simple everyday things, I’m on my way back there. And just in case, I’ll share those here – your mileage may of course vary.
1. I stop listening to music
When the thoughts in my head tell me music playing while doing my chores is too annoying or irritating, there’s a sign.
2. I stop lighting candles and burning incense
They might sound like nothing but these things are important to me mentally and I recognise that now.
3. I stop accepting invites
When it is safer to stay at home in my safe place than to go out into the world and see people I know and love, that is a bad sign.
4. I stop eating well
Something in my mind says my body is not worthy of decent food or the time and energy it takes to create decent food. I certainly do not feel like experimenting or trying any new recipes.
5. I stop doing chores
Clutter begins to pile up, and that in itself causes me to feel depressed.
6. I stop taking my vitamins
I can’t be bothered putting them in the little pill containers ready for taking daily, and I can’t be bothered taking them out of their larger containers daily. As a consequence my nails become brittle (hair and nails is the most important vitamin for me) and my immune system becomes less awesome at dealing with things (I take 2x echinacea daily).
7. I stop caring about – and following – my daily routine
Having a daily routine is very important to me – almost too much so. When I’m not depressed, if I don’t get to follow my regular routine for too many days together I begin to lose the plot a little. When I start to not care about following the routine, I know I’m in trouble.
8. I sleep more than usual
– Usual for me is 8-9 hours, anything more than that on a regular basis (and I don’t mean one off situations like I have a cold or I slept badly the night before) and I know I’m on that road back to depression
When I spot any of these signs on a regular basis, especially more than one of them at a time, I know it is time to seek medical assistance and/or head back to my counsellor. I also know that I need to *make* myself do these things for a little while, because if I can just keep doing them I can avoid that hole. :)
That is my situation and as always everyone may find theirs to be different. :)
Please to note – those in Australia – if you know anyone who is suffering from depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness, one of the best first steps to take is to see your local GP and ask about creating a mental health plan. You currently can receive up to 10 free sessions with a psychologist every 12 months under this plan.
You can also talk with your doctor about whether anti-depressants would be worthwhile for you.
Some people are opposed to taking medication for depression. When those people tell me this, I ask them if they are also opposed to insulin for diabetics, or opposed to blood thinners for people with blood clots, or opposed to this list does go on for some time. I make sure to ask if they are opposed to everything from giving children nurofen or panadol right through to organ transplants. And believe you me, if someone is silly enough to make that statement in my presence, they are going to get asked the *entire* list of things. :) I’m wacky like that.
Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness that has an impact on both physical and mental health, and medication can be important in treating it in order to correct the chemistry of the brain which may be out of whack. Yep, that is my technical term for that, however you can google if you want to know more about that. Here is a good article to start with but it is quite technical.