Inside A Depressed Mind.

While not everyone’s experience is the same, when people have a major depressive episode, generally the world looks, feels, and is understood completely differently than before and after the episode. During a major depressive episode, the world can literally seem like a dark place. What was beautiful may look ugly, flat, or even sinister. The depressed person may believe loved ones, even their own children, are better off without them. Nothing seems comforting, pleasurable, or worth living for. There’s no apparent hope for things ever feeling better, and history is rewritten and experienced as confirmation that everything has always been miserable, and always will be.

When this reality shift happens, it’s difficult to remember or believe what seemed normal before the episode. What the person believes during the episode seems absolutely real, and anything that conflicts with it is as unbelievable as a memory or message telling him or her that the sky is purple. For example, if the person is unable to feel love for a spouse, and someone reminds the person that he or she used to feel that love, the person may firmly believe he or she had been pretending to himself/herself and others, though at the time he or she really felt it. The person can’t remember feeling the love, and can’t feel it during the episode, and thus concludes he or she never felt it. The same process happens with happiness and pleasure. Attempts to tell the person that he or she used to be happy, and will feel happy again, can cause the person to feel more misunderstood and isolated because he or she is convinced it’s not true.

Even if nothing was wrong before the episode, everything seems wrong when it descends. Suddenly, no one seems loving or lovable. Everything is irritating. Work is boring and unbearable. Any activity takes many times more effort, as if every movement requires displacing quicksand to make it. What was challenging feels overwhelming; what was sad feels unbearable; what felt joyful feels pleasureless. or, at best, a fleeting drop of pleasure in an ocean of pain.

Major depression feels like intense pain that can’t be identified in any particular part of the body. The most (normally) pleasant and comforting touch can feel painful to the point of tears. People seem far away, on the other side of a glass bubble. No one seems to understand or care, and people seem insincere. Depression is utterly isolating.

There is terrible shame about the actions depression dictates, such as not accomplishing anything or snapping at people. Everything seems meaningless, including previous accomplishments and what had given life meaning. Anything that had given the person a sense of value or self-esteem vanishes. These assets or accomplishments no longer matter, no longer seem genuine, or are overshadowed by negative self-images. Anything that ever caused the person to feel shame, guilt, or regret grows to take up most of his or her psychic space. That and being in this state causes the person to feel irredeemably unlovable, and sure everyone has abandoned or will abandon him or her.

It’s difficult to describe all of this in a way that someone who’s never experienced it can make sense of it. I can’t emphasize enough that when this happens, what I am describing is absolutely the depressed person’s reality. When people try to get the person to look on the bright side, be grateful, change his or her thoughts, or meditate, or they minimize or try to disprove the person’s reality, they are very unlikely to succeed. Instead, they and the depressed person are likely to feel frustrated and alienated from one another. I do believe cognitive therapy has an important place, but generally not in the throes of a major depressive episode.

SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DEPRESSION

So what does a person whose reality has shifted in this way need? Please keep in mind that I am talking about a major depressive episode, severe depression that has lasted more than two weeks. I would take a different approach for someone with milder depression, or one that is a response to terrible loss.

For some people in a major depression, psychotropic medication works and is the only thing that works. The same could be said for electroshock treatment, though it’s not for everyone. Many people will emerge from major depression in time, though episodes seem to make more episodes more likely, so if medication works to end the episode, it’s usually prudent to take it. Nutrition, acupuncture, and other body-based treatments as well as therapy can help without the side effects of medication.

WHAT LOVED ONES CAN DO

Loved ones can gently hold and show love and commitment to the depressed person, try not to take on the person’s reality, but also not argue with him or her about it. They can also gently remind the person that depression causes his or her perspective on everything to change, and he or she is unable to think outside of depression mode at the moment. It is a time for the person to avoid making decisions, or avoid doing anything significant that requires a nondepressed perspective. If this is a repeated experience for this person, it can be helpful to discuss all of this between episodes so he or she is more prepared when caught in the quicksand.

As someone who suffers from with depression, it can be emotionally difficult or stressful at times to support that person. It can be beneficial to focus on your own needs and self-care, and to reach out for help if you need it such a seeking the support of a counselor or therapist.

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Inside My Suicidal Mind.

There is constant conflict between my depression and my will to live. One moment I am at high risk of falling victim to suicide, and the next moment I am rationalizing my worth as a human being. This has continued for many decades, my whole life I could remember. My illness has hospitalized me on several occasions. I have survived vicious self-mutilations. Spending time in and out of many drug detox centers didn’t work for me, BUT I did learn a lot from being in the rehabilitation centers and thats why I got clean on my own, and STILL going strong.

When I’m in my depression, darkness is my life. Thoughts swirl around me, and I am engulfed by despair. My battered mind and soul are confused and weakened, unable to fight off dark thoughts. The only glimmer of hope is that death will finally bring the peace I so desperately seek. I’m supposed to be able to wipe these thoughts out of my mind just by ignoring them, but this is not as easy as it sounds, when suicide feels like the only option for relief.

Detachment from life is all I know. I have no feelings of happiness or sadness. Disconnection with reality has left me in a zombie state of mind. Life passes me by without any recollection. The only things I believe to be real are my tears. Loneliness from the outside world is my sanctuary because within my own darkness, I am safe from the outside.

I need energy to fight a battle that seems impossible to win, the battle for my life. The constant fight and resistance leaves me mortally wounded. The battles make me weary. My body can only take so much abuse. Desperately I seek other methods of relief, alcohol and/or drugs provides temporary respite from the misery, clouds of intoxication briefly numb the pain.

Exhaustion is overwhelming and can only be relieved by resting during the day. The mind and body feel beaten. Self-esteem is destroyed due to an inability to perform the simplest of tasks. The eating and inactivity cause weight gain. The body fat around my waist pushes me further into the abyss. Failures in life compound upon each other, paving the road toward suicide. While in a depression, nothing seems to go right; failure is the only thing I am sure of.

Other people cannot understand how some of us can even think of suicide. But to me it seems to be the most logical method of escaping a life that is not life. Minds and souls are destroyed and life is really not life without them. There seems to be no difference between life and death, since we already feel as though we are dead. This is why death is not a fearful prospect. We have been there, done that. Death is not a stranger to us; that’s why it calls out for us. And we are so tired. We just want some peace. Somehow, it all has to end.

If this darkness is so devastating, then why am I still alive? There is one reason I have put up with this relentless hell: I love my boyfriend and dog. Suicide would be like killing two people. The stress of financial hardship and the family affairs he would have to deal with on his own would become his doom. It’s my feelings for him that have stopped me from killing myself. That, and I want to feel life again…

Coda:

It’s difficult to write about depression when you are totally recovered. Your thoughts and feelings about life are not the same as they were when you were ill. Your thought process is totally different. I have been sober for seven years and 5 months now and still counting, my mental health is stabilized. I have walked through the threshold to a whole new world. For the first time in 43 years, I’ve started to discover things that have been buried inside me. I now have goals and dreams to conquer, but most of all, I have hope. I feel my life is important enough to fight for. My fight for survival has been a very long one, and I am willing to continue the fight.

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Being Thin Skinned Is Ok.

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Life is complicated, and we’re all acutely aware of that fact. We will all encounter tough interpersonal conflict and criticism, and unfortunately, we might even (as adults) still face name-calling that harks back to our time as elementary school students.

It happens within our families, within our social circles, and yes, sometimes between our peers in the workplace. It’s certainly happened to me, and the advice I invariably hear is that I should develop thicker skin. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given that advice in my life.

What I’ve come to realize, however, is that I’m okay with my thin skin. I am a very emotional person, and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve.

I understand that the thick skin advice comes from a good place when given, however, what is wrong with being affected? Furthermore, what’s wrong with admitting to other people who you are affected?

Don’t let anyone tell you that having “thin skin” is a flaw. Your beautiful and feeling heart is a strength.

Some of my favorite people have thin skin, and most of the truly gifted, creative, and innovative people who I’ve met in my life are highly emotional and feeling individuals.

When people criticize me, I feel it. When people are right down rude or insulting to me, I really feel it. I don’t let it keep me down, because I have enough self-worth (at this age) to see ugliness for what it is, but dang it, I’ve got super thin skin, and I’m not ashamed of that…I’m proud of it!!

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I Refuse To Let My Pain Change Me.

I refuse to let pain change me into someone I’m not. I refuse to let others who can’t seem to reciprocate what I have to offer, influence the way I love people, or the way I love myself.

I refuse to let others mixed signals and confusion divert me in knowing exactly what I want in a relationship, and not stopping until I get it. I refuse to play the games people seem to have grown accustomed. I refuse to play by their rules because I don’t understand it.

I refuse to succumb to commitment or lack thereof in this generation where it’s suddenly cool to be casual. Where it’s suddenly cool not to care. Where it’s suddenly cool to be unsure of each other. I refuse to be that type of person.

I refuse to let endings make me fear something beginning again. I refuse to let heartbreak and disappointment stop me from continuing to try. I refuse to let those who do not see my worth, influence the way I look at myself in the mirror. I refuse to stare at my phone wondering why someone didn’t answer because how someone treats me, is a reflection of them.

I refuse to stop trying when I care, because that says something about a person. But I also refuse to compromise my self-respect trying to keep someone who doesn’t want to stay.

I refuse to change the way I love. Change the way I feel. Change the way I date. Just because it’s a little different. I refuse to lower standards some say are out of date or old fashion. Because I know there are still people wanting that same thing too.

I refuse to hold back when it comes to matters of the heart because when something feels right, you go with it. And when something scares you, that’s exactly what you might need.

I refuse to let my past dictate my relationships in the present. I refuse to let fear rob me of something that could be great, because I could get hurt. The truth is, I know I’m not promised anything and there are no guarantees, but that’s why you just have to go for things, that’s why you just have to invest everything into someone or something and hope for the best. And even if I lose, I refuse to stop being that type of person who goes all in. Because if your heart is there, you can’t regret the choices you make.

I refuse to chase after people who don’t value me enough to stay. Because I know the right people always will.

I refuse to enter relationships with only half a heart, because whoever that person is, deserves my best. I refuse to let my brokeness, my backage, my scars dictate my present, but instead wear it all with pride.

I refuse to blame my past and the people in it because when you learn and grow, you’re winning.

I refuse to give up on love, because I know what it’s like to get it right. And when you do, it’s the best thing that will ever happen to you. Call me a hopeless romantic. Tell me I’m too much sometimes. Judge me for a heart that will always be on my sleeve.

But when the time comes and you’re tired, you’ve lost faith in love, relationships, and people, I ask you to come to me. When the time comes and you need to feel something again and you are done with these games we play, come to me with your problems. Come to me with your past. Come to me with every mistake you’ve made and the things that keep you up at night. Come to me with your pain. And I will love you for all of it.

I refuse to let a cold world that thinks they are heartless rid me of this thing I so deeply believe in. Because whether we want to admit it or not, we all need love and that one relationship we all secretly pine after, which will make everything worth it.

I probably love a little too hard, but I’m always going to believe in it. I refuse to never stop being that person because if I do, then I’ll know they won.

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I’m Afraid To Heal.

I say I’m afraid to get hurt so instead of going for relationships that are right for me, I pine after the ones I know aren’t. I cling to people I know are bad for me. If I know how something will end, then it won’t surprise me as much.

I give too much sometimes to people I know don’t deserve it, because I’m afraid of finding someone who does. I overcompensate time and time again, because people have led me to believe I’m the one who is flawed and it’s never been enough. And I’ve begun to see myself through lenses I know are skewed, but I’m afraid to take them off.

I’m afraid people won’t like me if they know everything about me. So I try really hard to get people to like the version of me I wish was the full truth sometimes.

I’m afraid to care too much so I keep people at arm’s length.

I’m afraid to grow used to someone. I’m afraid to watch them become part of my routine. I’m afraid to wake up next to someone and like it a little too much. I’m afraid of being every first conversation. Be the one who is more invested.

The person who will get hurt for having the type of heart I do. So I hide it behind this wall that very few get through.

I know it’s a form of settling when I succumb to casual relationships when you don’t believe in it, but I feel something at least for a little bit. It’s that high off of something you know isn’t good for you, but you don’t walk away from it.

I’m afraid of losing my freedom that I don’t do much with in the first place. Because even when opportunities present themselves, I do go home alone. Because I know the only thing worse than heartbreak is using people like band aids to cover wounds that haven’t healed properly. It’s easier to sleep alone.

I’m afraid of doing every wrong thing, so I apologize for everything.

I’m afraid of looking at my phone and waiting for someone to answer, and coming up with a hundred reasons of why they probably didn’t. Each scenario ending with goodbye or I did something wrong again.

I’m afraid of thinking too much about one person, so I try not to.

I’m afraid of knowing what it’s like to get used to someone sleeping next to me. So instead, I sleep diagonal.

I’m afraid of making memories in certain places with people so I go there alone, because I don’t want to see the ghosts of people’s past haunting me, because I never forgive myself for things.

I’m afraid of being the one who talks too much, cares too much, and overwhelms a person if I ever do decide to care. So I pull away myself sometimes out of fear of others leaving me. Out of fear of other’s rejection.

I’m afraid to realize maybe I’m the problem here.

I’m afraid to take things slow, so I run a little too fast sometimes ruining things before they begin.

I’m afraid I’ll always be too much for someone to handle. Because that’s what a lot of people have told me.

So instead of focusing on relationships, I focus on a hundred other things that divert my attention.

But most of all, I’m afraid of the person who is going to challenge me with all of this. The person who will stay when I’m difficult. The person who will pull me closer when I pull away. The person who looks at me sure when I’ve never looked at myself that way. The person who talks about the future while I’m sitting here taking a deep breath just because we made it through another day. The person who wants to stay. The person who sees right through me and sees through the act I’ve seem to master. I pretend I don’t give a fuck. But I do. I’m afraid of the person who will take the time to read me like the books I’ve memorized. The one I get lost in. The one who takes the time to learn, listen to me, and care about me.

I’m afraid to heal, because all I’ve known is pain. Maybe it’s pain I didn’t deserve, but it’s pain I’ve worn comfortably. I’m afraid to let that go, because I don’t know who I am without it.

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Generic Facts About You Based On Your Top Emoji Choice.

😀
You’re the person that’s always happy Monday mornings before coffee even has hit, and everyone wonders about you.

😅
You said something slightly risky and nothing bad happened.

😇
Your reputation at work is very different from it is on a Saturday night.

😍
Used mostly when snapchatting food.

😋
Trying to be cute like…

😏
Sexting your boyfriend like…

😕
When someone doesn’t respond to your meme.

😫
You are the friend that complains about everything and no one has called you out on it yet.

😂
You laugh at your own jokes, louder than anyone.

😘
Texting Bae like….

😛
More food appreciation emojis

😒
When your best friend tells you a story about someone you both hate.

😗
Texting your BFF like love you bitch.

😝
Getting the recap of what you did last night after one too many tequila shots.

😢
When you don’t know how to verbally express sadness.

☺️
Someone said something kind to you even though you completely set them up for it.

😉
Getting pics from BAE like…give me 5 minutes.

😜
When you tell a shitty joke only you think is funny.

😎
Trying to be chill, but nothing about you is that chill.

😔
You are dead inside.

😭
Used not when you’re actually crying but laughing uncontrollably.

😊😟
Not really sure what to say so I’m gonna leave this here…

😖
You hate everyone.

😤
Susan in the office again said something you don’t know how to respond to, and you just texted your BFF telling the story because even though she doesn’t know Susan, she’s come to hate her too.

😠
Actually pissed but complaining to someone else rather than the person you are pissed at.

😱🤗😯
When your BFF tells you what went down after her date.

😴
So tired you might die.

🤔😐
Awkward moment when you don’t know what to say.

🤑🤭😑
You sent the text to the person about the person you were talking about.

🤧🤠🤯🤫😬
You think you’re funnier than you are.

😷
Complaining about how sick you are over your snap story like…

😳
You did something so embarrassing you’re considering just up and leaving the country without telling anyone.

👹
Describing someone you hate like…

🎃
Your favorite movie is Hocus Pocus.

😼
Any use of Cat emojis you are a crazy cat person.

👍🏻
Agreeing but trying to end this conversation like…

👌🏻
Passive aggressive AF and they better catch on.

👎🏻
Not having it.

🙌🏻
Emoji most used for women supporting each other.

👊🏻
We are on the same team and I got you.

✌🏻
Low key saying go F yourself.

💩
Girls who poop too and talk about it with each other.

👏🏻
When your best friend tells you she isn’t going to answer him, even though you know she’s gonna cave in the next 24 hours.

👆🏻
When someone asks you to explain something you just explained.

👋🏻
Still waiting for your response like…

🙏🏻
Blessed to have you in my life.

💍
Dropping hints to your boyfriend like…

💪🏻
Telling everyone you are back on that workout grind…

🍳
Telling everyone not only are you on that workout grind, but you’re eating healthy too.

🎓
Finally graduated, can’t wait to be an adult.

💼
Waking up at 6:00am to be at your desk by 8:00 and wondering why the hell you wanted to graduate college.

✈️
You studied abroad Jr year and you haven’t stopped telling your Bumble matches you travel the world.

🎤
Your favorite karaoke song is “Don’t Stop Believing,” and you sing it every chance you get.

🚀
Trump’s favorite Emoji when texting about North Korea.

💁🏼‍
Trying to be cute like…

🙋🏼‍
When your BFF says she needs to get hammered, you respond with “I volunteer as tribute.”

💇🏼‍
New hair, who dis?

🙅🏼‍
When your BFF asks if she should text him back or not…

💃
Def the first on the dance floor at every wedding. Def the worst on the dance floor at every wedding.


You use the word love and relationship entirely too much in your vocabulary.

💅🏻
Snapping yourself at the nail place like…

👑
Talking about your celeb idol like you know her personally.

🐶
You aggressively snapchat and instagram your dog like he or she is a child.

🙈
Saying something you know you probably shouldn’t.

🐷
Basic bitches be like I want a mini pig.

🐎
Used most on Instagram during the Kentucky Derby. That or you’re a crazy horse girl.

🎄
You’re that person who starts playing Christmas music in November.

🍀
St Paddy’s day is your favorite day of the year.

🌹
BAE sent flowers to your office and you’re instagramming and snapping that shit before you even text him thank you.

🌚
Saying goodnight to all your followers like…

🌏🌍🌎
Traveling around the world like…

🔥
Commenting on your BFFs selfie like…

🌊
Beach babe at heart.

🍏🍎🍐🍊🍋🍈🍓🍇🍉🍌🍒🍑🍍
Telling everyone on snapchat you’re eating healthy now.

🥐🍳🥞🥓🥩🍟🍔🌭🍖🍗🍕🥪🥙🌮🌯
But eating like this IRL

🍆
Fuckboys be like…

🎂🍰🥧🍦🍭🍬🍫🍩
Feeling slightly guilty, but not guilty enough to not eat it and instead tell everyone about it.

🍷
Thinking about Wine Wednesday 8:00AM on a Monday

🍻🍺
When you’re two days into the month you swore you weren’t going to drink, and you cave.

🍸
Girls night got everyone like …🍾

🍴
When you’re already eating, but thinking about your next meal.

⚽️
When your favorite soccer team is Chelsea and everyone hates you for it.

🏀
You still talk about your high school glory days when you were captain of the basketball team.

🏈
Fact this is the emoji most used on the Super Bowl.

🎱
You were the captain of the bowling team in HS and you still take girls bowling on first dates and humiliate them.

💸💰
When rent is due at the same time of your bills.

🇺🇸
Your love for America exceeds anyone you know. Your favorite holidays include Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Veterans Day.

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