Depression robs me of so much. Energy, joy, patience....just to name a few. Some days are good, but I have to put in a lot of effort to make them good. Having to be on medication isn't ideal, but I don't like how much worse I feel without it. Natural ways, such as exercising, are only a temporary fix. Therefore, I have to rely on my happy pills to help me function.
Depression is exhausting. I could sleep a solid nine hours a night and still feel like I need a nap in the afternoon. My energy is sapped the moment I wake up. Some days it's hard to get off the couch and do something as simple as comb my hair. And I have to force myself to get out of the house. Once I do, I feel so much better. So why can't I remember that? That's the thing about depression. It tells you you can't. Your brain literally thinks things will be better if you laze around and sleep all day.
My biggest beef with depression is it keeps me from enjoying motherhood at times. Before becoming a mom, I had visions of doing all kinds of fun things with my kids. I was going to be that mom that bakes all the time, does arts and crafts, and comes up with awesome games. Instead, some days my daughter probably spends too much time in front of a screen.
I think being a stay-at-home mom has made my depression worse. During the summer, there are days I won't interact with another adult until my husband gets home. This can be very lonely and isolating, which is what depression feeds on. This school year, I'll be working at my daughter's preschool 5 mornings a week instead of 3. I'm excited about that because I'll have something to get up for every morning, and I'll be able to interact with more people other than a two year old.
I can only hope and pray that my daughter won't inherit this horrible disease so that she'll be able to enjoy life more than I can. I wish I could be different. I try. But my brain has other plans. My husband didn't always understand how bad it was, but within the last year he has come to realize my struggle. He's been extra in-tune to my feelings and emotions, and tries his best to help.
I didn't write this to get readers to feel sorry for me. That's the last thing I want. I wrote this because I want others to know what it's like. Depression sucks, guys. It literally sucks the life out of you. And sufferers pretend to be okay or happy so their loved ones won't worry, or so they won't bring them down.
If someone you care about struggles with depression, here's what you can do:
1) Acknowledge the depression.
Don't ignore the fact that it's there, because it makes the person who is dealing with it think that their feelings aren't valid.
2) Don't take offense.
It has nothing to do with what you are or aren't doing. Your loved one can't help it. Their brain is wired differently than yours.
But be subtle. Don't ask "How can I help you?" or "Is this helping?" It will only draw attention to the fact that the sufferer has an issue and make them feel like they are being a burden. Don't get frustrated if something doesn't seem to work. Try it again another time or something else completely.
4) Most importantly, love them through it.
It's not fun dealing with somebody who has depression. Movies and books romanticize it, but it's quite ugly and impacts relationships negatively. But I can tell you that the sufferer already hates the fact that they have to put others through their suffering, so not being there for them or ignoring the problem will only make things worse. If the sufferer knows you love them despite this soul-sucking illness, then it gives them more of a push to get out of bed each morning.