August 5, 2013

MandyFeeling depressed can be a lonely experience and I was no exception.

I felt isolated from the world and couldn’t relate to any of the happiness around me.

People seemed motivated to get out and take part in life and even seemed enthusiastic about it. The idea just didn’t appeal to me at all.

I didn’t want to have to pretend and put on a fake smile. I wanted to wallow at home and sleep as much as I possibly could.

Sleep had become an easy way to escape my ever present misery. Even imagining winning the lottery didn’t pick my spirits up and I spent many dark days wondering if I would ever feel ‘normal’ again.

One thing that really did help was having a friend that knew how I was feeling and was there for me. The support she offered was priceless and it made me realise how important it is to share your thoughts and feelings with others. It opens up a support network that won’t be there unless you are brave enough to reach out to someone.

My friend never used phrases like "snap out of it"

My friend was patient with me and never used the dreaded words such as, “snap out of it” or “pull yourself together”. She understood that depression is very different from being unhappy. There was no specific reason for my low mood and it couldn’t be related to any specific event in my life.

As a result, it wasn’t something that I could necessarily fix immediately. Her patience meant I didn’t feel pressured into pretending I felt better when I didn’t. She gave me the time to figure it out and be kind to myself instead of heaping guilt on me for not improving quickly enough. Depression has its own time schedule and its own agenda. It is often a matter of ‘riding it out’ and taking life one day at a time rather than doing something specific to stop experiencing it.

She never lectured me, she just listened

It made a huge difference to me just knowing that she was there. I knew I could call on her day or night and it was comforting to know that I could reach her if I felt overwhelmed at times. She never lectured me, she just listened. I knew that some of my ramblings probably didn’t make sense. Many of my thoughts and words were laden with emotion, rendering them irrational but she just let me get it out of my system.

There were times when she would almost have to drag me out the house as I did have a tendency to want to isolate myself from the world. I used to resent her for this but every time, without fail, I would be glad that I got out for fresh air and a change of scenery. Slowly but surely I began to relate to the happiness around me and began to feel ‘plugged in’ again. My friend had a big part to play in that progress.

I have been a lot more open about my struggle with depression

Depression can come and go and it can seem as if there is no end in sight but the black cloud does eventually lift. Accept that there will be bad days. Reach out to others and let them know what you are going through. I have been a lot more open and accepting of my struggle with depression in the last few years and I have been amazed at the level of understanding that friends and family have shown me.

Knowing that someone cares and is there to listen has helped me tremendously. Ironically, perhaps I would never have discovered or experienced that level of friendship and support had I not been depressed. It just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining.

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