Depression remains a jargon to many. If you’d ask people about their notions about it, they’d simply say that it is “just a period of blues.” However, that’s only one underlying symptom of this mental illness. It consumes your energy, enthusiasm, and existence in an inexplicable way.
Dealing With Depression: How I’m Managing My Bouts of Recurring Depression
The Turning Point
I never manifested any signs of depression or any mental illness until I was 18. I was living an almost perfect life with abundance and high hopes about the future. My parents worked overseas, so I often kept victories and sorrows in life all to myself. I’d never thought that isolation would take its toll on me.
My habit of looking at my face in the mirror intensified in the third quarter of 2012. I just couldn’t help it. At first, I thought it was just a product of vanity. But when I started perceiving myself as hideous, I knew there’s something wrong.
Not only my appearance, but I also noticed that my energy level dropped drastically. I lost quality sleep. I had difficulty in concentrating during class sessions that even made me more anxious. My outbursts saw me hurling objects inside my room. I didn’t know what to do.
A neuropsychiatry doctor diagnosed me with depression associated with a mood disorder. He prescribed me drugs to stabilize and keep me from pervasive thoughts. I had to stop school with all the beating and loneliness inside my head.
The first three months of medication was great. There was relief that it finally ended, or so I thought.
The Hardest Pill to Swallow: Recurrence
I was ready to settle my unfinished business with academics after I worked freelance for some months. The first academic semester was smooth sailing; I even topped it with an academic distinction. Then came the next one; it was the time I felt the symptoms back.
This was worse. I had panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and everything in between. What really shattered me inside was the thought that it should’ve been my graduating year. I tried to muster the focus and dedication, but to no avail. Once again, I ended up canceling my enrollment.
The feeling was comparable to a speeding toy car which ran low in battery – there was no compromise. When I felt it, it was certain to be a downward spiral. That was the moment my father disclosed me one thing: he also had the same illness growing up. Too bad, I wasn’t as emotionally strong as him.
Will I be forever restricted? Can I still finish my studies? Is there more in life than the cycle of blues and temporary happiness? Those were the questions that my younger self, needed to answer. I convinced myself that I should device courses of action when it attacks again.
I’m 3 years older – and wiser – than the intimidated Monica who submitted to depression. I decided to forego schooling for one substantial goal.
What could be the obvious reason?
I took a breather so I can study my depression and mood fluctuations. My current job allows me to temporarily sacrifice my dreams at the least amount of guilt. I want to know more, so I can counter its every attempt to bring me down. I know I can only move on if I eradicate it out of my system or slow it down at least.
Occasionally, there are still panic attacks and worries inside my head. But I’m stronger and unforgiving this time. When I feel depression coming, I don’t give it a chance to fully capitalize.
Proven Safeguards to Get By
Depressed people are often misunderstood. I understand the feeling. You just can’t put it into words. It’s like you’re being trapped in a void with little to zero resistance.
If you’re down with depression, my culmination of self-help tips may ease it off.
When symptoms subside:
- Never be confident. You can never know when depression will haunt you again. Stopping medication abruptly is one major cause of recurrence. If you plan to stop it, do it gradually and with the consent of your doctor.
- Identify and control your stressors. While you cannot avoid them wholly, you can always choose to limit them.
- Hit the time-out button when needed. Depression is triggered when you feel burnout. Consider short vacation trips as two-way investments: for relaxation and resetting stress.
- Value communication. Depression feeds on loneliness and despair. When problems start piling up, a coffee session with friends or family, for instance, surely helps. And hey, a beaming smile really uplifts anyone’s mood.
- Broaden your support system. Mood disorders and depression are less effective for people who feel loved and cared for. Run back to your family and close friends when the going gets tough.
- Cling to faith. When we’re not troubled or pained, it’s easy to forget who we owe it to. Always ask and thank the Man above for giving you the strength to go on with life.
When down with depression:
- Remember the positives. This illness saps even the littlest of joy we have left. What are the things you have left? These are innumerable: family, friends, accomplishments that can never be replaced, etc. These are all waiting for your bounce back game.
- Progress in small increments. It’s not as if you’ll wake the next day as a completely healed person. Recovering from depression takes time. Were you able to end the day with reduced panic attacks and less worrying? That’s something to be thankful.
- Religiously stick with your meds. Feeling indifferent about this is normal when you feel no improvement. But trust me, all your medication needs from you are two things: trust and consistency.
- Cling to faith even more. It may be your darkest phase, but the Man above does not put you into situations you can’t handle.
My recuperation strategies for depression are work in progress, as my bout with it continues. The best tip overall? It’s holding a firm belief that you can rise and be free once again. Never let depression take it away from you. It’s all a state of mind.