Severe depression is an illness no different from another affliction. It slows you down with mental and physical exhaustion, lack of interest, and needing a desperate break from pain. I have spoken several times of different levels of depression which are: 1. None 2. Mild 3. Moderate and 4. Severe. This gives someone an idea that not all forms of depression are the same. Severe depression is the worst level where one has to work the hardest to heal.
When I experienced severe depression all the typical symptoms were present. I lacked motivation to get up and do any of my daily tasks such as going to work, getting ready, and definitely not into feel good activities. It was an unimaginable force to face and overcome. It is similar to lifting weights that are too heavy for your strength. I struggled and had to be absent from work to recover or reluctantly go through the motions while I heal. I removed myself from noise and chaos in what was controllable. This was a time for me not to be overly productive, or try to achieve, or do anything other than survive. I thought that this was a permanent state and recovery seemed distant or nonexistent.
The heavy burden manifested in physical symptoms such as a frozen shoulder. This lasted for over a year. I did have thoughts of ending my life on several occasions, but somehow had the resilience to not succeed. The pivotal point was when my uncomfortable thoughts absorbed my daily life that I got scared. I did not want to feel this pain, but I could not get rid of it.
I mustered the strength and courage to search for a psychiatrist and get help. I never had to do this in my life, but knew that all the help would be required in order for me to heal. For the first time in my life I was prescribed antidepressants and an anti anxiety medication for emergencies. I was open minded because I knew my condition was serious. No one could seek help except for myself. It was scary, but I had to do this alone.
THE FIVE TRUTHS
I did not have a strong support system. The few people who understood me could not help. As much as I wanted more kind people in my life and longed for gone relationships, I knew it would not happen. I had to care for myself no matter who is present. I had to face my hard truth and accept it. I did not know my capacity to get help. Self-love , worth, and value were needed desperately. I had to be my own best friend and recognize that reaching out for help was essential to survival.
Taking anti-depressants is not a cure or substitute to learning ways to start healing. It is a tool to help me adjust to my new way of the mind and make it more bearable to start working on ways to help myself on my healing journey. It is also not shameful or bad when medication is needed in cases where the person is at a tipping point.
I had to be very patient with myself as healing takes time. It is not something to rush or feel you must be somewhere other than my present state and allow myself to grow within.
I accepted that this has happened to me and not ashamed. Mental health has a stigma and it makes women uncomfortable to share if they are depressed. It makes it seem this is wrong, unfortunate, or you should not be human. It is because the illusion of perfection and greatness is gone and people don't want those illusions tarnished. They want to believe everything is positive no matter what and no one should face fear, fault, emotional pain, and be vulnerable.
I had to make a serious effort to get well and it would not happen if I did not accept my reality and find ways to heal. I also accepted that some days would get worse before it gets better and that is okay. I am not supposed to feel my best all the time. I accepted overwhelming emotions that would show up and disappear and reappear. I am naturally a sensitive person or empath.
I am pleased to share that my severe depression got better and I was able to move up one level to moderate depression where it is easier to manage. I eventually was consistently experiencing mild depression which was a breakthrough. If I ever falter and go back to severe depression, it is familiar territory and I will be able to pull myself out. I am resilient after all which I did not see in myself.