In my story, I have went through the five stages of anxiety. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Each stage holds it’s own level of importance and I have decided to dedicate a post to each individually over the next few weeks and months. Continuing with, Depression.
You can catch up on the Five Stages of Anxiety: Denial post –Here, Anger post –Here, Bargaining post –Here.
Depression, for me, was never the stereotypical explanation of not feeling good but not knowing why. It was never as one dimensional as feeling good or feeling bad, my experience, was a lot more complex and in depth. When somebody without depression is having a bad day they may feel down, they may cry, they usually sit and think about how bad their day is going and how they feel but their day and their mood can be changed around and lifted by something very quickly, like a litter of puppies on the street for example. When I became depressed it didn’t feel like that, I wasn’t constantly crying, I was numb. I wasn’t thinking about how bad my day was, I was exhausted. And the main difference in my experience with depression was that I couldn’t lift my mood, no matter how many litters of puppies I past in the street. Not even if they came to my door. Not even if the litter of eight puppies came into the sitting room and sat on my lap.
It’s an unusual way to live, living with depression, because if you are having a bad day or a bad mood you enter a room and your face gives it away, be it a grumpy facial expression, a huffing facial expression, anger perhaps? you sit down with a sigh and give away many signs to others to ask you, what’s wrong. However, when you are depressed, you enter a room with a smile, you almost build yourself up to pretend. It feels almost like an outer body experience because you are there and you are playing the part of happy, bubbly and excitable but, it’s almost like you feel dead inside. It’s just all hollow. You won’t ever get a sign that somebody you love is depressed because of their facial expression, or an opening to ask what’s wrong. If you want to know if your loved one is depressed then the clue is always in the eyes, because in the eyes is the only place you will see the hollowness.
It was a completely contradictory experience for me because I never felt like the people on the adverts for depression or the people in the newspapers with depression. I never felt like there was ever a fair representation of me within this awareness campaign. I always felt like these people had been portrayed as almost less than, not in the sense that they weren’t worthy of your support but in the sense that they were more worthy than another for your support, it just always felt patronising to me. I never felt like I needed anybody’s sympathy and I never felt more worthy than anybody else for anyone’s support. I just didn’t feel like somebody doomed weak for life, I felt completely normal. Which is where the contradiction comes in because although I was normal and of sound mind I was still hollow inside, within the soul.
I think that is why there are so many misrepresentations of depression out there, It isn’t always the person screaming the loudest, with the saddest facial expression. It usually isn’t the one giving you openings over and over again to ask how they are. It isn’t always the ones looking for sympathy and it definitely isn’t reserved for the people society deems less than. It can be the CEO conducting a meeting, the teacher leading the classroom, the mother with the beautiful family who looks like she’s got it all together. For me, it was the result of a few combining things but mainly the result of not overcoming my anxiety, not having the knowledge & avoiding the issue. It comes back to the age old, cliche that if we break our leg we go to the doctor so why shouldn’t we take care of our mind *cringe* lol but it is true, particularly in regards to how others treat you during the healing and more importantly how you view yourself during the healing. I wasn’t slow or incapable, I just hadn’t been taking care of my mind as much as it deserved. Which means that it could happen to any of us at any time in our lives if we don’t take the proper precautions. Learning that lesson helped me move forward into, my favourite and the most important, next stage, Acceptance.
**Keep an eye out for the final Five Stages of Anxiety: Acceptance post, coming soon**
Thanks for reading,