The inability to sleep. A state of torpor. An unhealthy seclusion. All these could be signs of depression.
I might suffer from one or two of these things, but that doesn’t mean I’m depressed. I am confident I’m not. Yet. And I have a psychiatrist to back me up.
No, I’m not seeing him for treatment. Rather, he was a frequent guest speaker on a radio show. It just happened that I was a member of the program’s staff so I got to listen to his discussions about psychology both on and off-air.
One time, the hosts and he had an on-air talk about depression. He said that depression is a type of mental illness. If a person suffers from it, the signs of the condition would last for months, particularly 2 to 6 months. Symptoms include prolonged loneliness, inactivity, withdrawal, seclusion, and poor or excessive diet.
By listening to him, I’ve realized some things about the so-called illness.
For one, I’ve learned that depression is far different from ordinary sadness. If you could manage to keep the blues at bay and still function as a normal human being, you’re not yet ill. Being sad for a few days do not count as being depressed.
I’ve also realized that I should never loosely use the word “depression”. It’s an illness. And it’s scary.
Depression could change how you deal with people. In extreme cases, you would not want to have anything to do with anybody. You would prefer to lock yourself up and brood inside your room. You would seclude yourself like you wanted to erase your existence.
Depression could change how you view yourself. It magnifies self-pity and self-doubt. Interestingly, it makes you self-centered in an extremely pessimistic way. You tend to say to yourself that:
“I’m not good enough.”
“No one loves me.”
“I’m a failure.”
“I’m a disappointment.”
You would try to silence the voices inside your head but they wouldn’t die. Instead, they would stubbornly transform into something your mind could better perceive. For instance, they could turn into a mud puddle.
That cold, tempting pool would beckon you to come closer. With no resolve left, you would oblige right away and dip your finger into it, then your hand, then half your body, and ultimately your whole being. You would wallow in the mud, feel the chill seep into your flesh, and let the dirt stain your clothes.
The voices would then grow louder as they call your name. The moment you heed their calls and put your head into the dirty water, you would realize that the mud puddle had transformed into a black pond and that you’re already submerged in it, drowning. You would not be able to swim yourself out.
As you gasp for breath, you would desperately look for an escape and find nothing but the lethal option. Scary, right?
Did I suffer from it? Well, way back in 2013, the psychiatrist who taught me about the mental illness indirectly told me that I’m melancholic and that it could lead to depression. I don’t know if I became depressed afterward, though.
Indeed, there were times when I would refuse to get out of bed and travel to work. The worst was in 2014 when I was AWOL for three months. But I don’t know if it’s depression or just foolish stubbornness as I never consulted a psychologist during those tough times.
Instead, my family and friends supported me and my boss accepted me again. Along with their and my prayers, I was able to start all over again. No psychologist or psychiatrist was necessary.
I’ve learned from my experience that you could stop short of succumbing to depression if you have a reliable support system. That said, I’m blessed to have people who brought me back to my senses and reminded me that the best way to deal with my emotional instability is to seek help from above. Without them and Him who gave them to me, I would not have survived.
If you’re looking for ways to fight depression, I suggest you read this inspiring entry by Mr. Controversy. God bless!