I've suffered from depression and anxiety for about 10 years. It's an awful, controlling disability and is more common than you think. It can be really hard to share this with new people because of the awful stigma that goes along with it.
Even harder though, is trying to explain it to people who haven't experienced it. At times my only answer is just, "I just feel sad. I don't want to, I have nothing to be sad about, but I just can't control it." That's a tough thing for your loved ones to digest.
I've recently met several girls that have been struggling with it and it made me realize that I'm not so alone.
I decided to write this post to show other girls that they aren't alone and there are people out there who understand what you're going through.
I chatted with Melanie from the blog my billie about her depression and she, being the open, strong gal she is answered some questions for me.
How long have you suffered with depression?
My first episode was when I was 14 years old. It was after me and my first boyfriend broke up and the psychologist I went to told me I was just a teenage girl handling situations poorly (and not somebody that could have possible depression--even though my dad is clinically depressed). Ever since then its come and gone in cycles pretty regularly.
Do you see a therapist/ psychiatrist? Has he/she helped you?
I regularly see a therapist who is absolutely amazing. I'm so lucky to have found her! I first met her when I started group therapy in early 2010 (went in for depression after I lost my grandmother). I was paired up with her as my individual therapist while in the program and I also saw a psychiatrist weekly. After I left the program I started seeing her in her private practice and now I also see a different psychiatrist regularly. I've met with some bad psychiatrists before. I hate the ones who maintain their office in a very rigid and clinical way. I prefer the warmer type who act like they want to invest their time into your health. If you have a bad feeling about your therapist/psychiatrist--stop seeing them! Ask around and I'm sure you'll be able to find someone better suited for you!
What advice do you have for the loved ones of those suffering with depression?
Go to family sessions. Do what you can to understand the illness behind the behavior. Set boundaries and communicate them. Tell your loved one what you are and aren't willing to do to help them. Don't go outside of your means. You have to stay healthy regardless of if someone you love is depressed and not healthy. Sleep regularly, eat well, exercise if you can.
Any tips on how to cope when you have those extra "bad" days?
Give yourself a break. Tell yourself that its okay to have a bad day! Don't beat yourself up for being depressed and don't expect too much from yourself. I might be superwoman on any given "normal" day, but on a "bad" day I can't sincerely expect myself to accomplish the kinds of things I can on a normal day. If getting out of bed is a huge feat while you're depressed, congratulate yourself just for doing that! Keep in mind that bad days are going to happen. Be sure to let those that you're closest to in on what kind of day you're having. It might be good to make a plan with your significant other/best friend/parent/sibling/whatever for when those days happen. Make them take you to lunch or go on a 20 minute walk. Its important to have someone to go to so that you don't feel alone with your depression. If you have a therapist I would try to see them on especially bad days too.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more questions or need someone to help you get in the right direction with your mental health. I write posts on how to stay healthy and balanced and offer tips on dealing with anxiety, stress and other topics almost weekly at my blog. You can also check these resources below for more information on depression/mental disorders:
WebMD's link on depression
Suicide Hotline 1.800.273.8255
A big thank you to Melanie for sharing her story. Check out her blog, my billie for more of her life stories and a lot of awesome fashion and diy posts.
Never forget that you aren't alone and if you are struggling with this you now have 2 new friends to come to who understand what you're going through.