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March 19, 2015

The 4 Complexities of Depression.

sit sad stress depressed woman window

I recently had a discussion with an acquaintance after my friend passed away from committing suicide.

They didn’t believe in any sort of mental disorders, they viewed them as something created on their own with no genetic or environmental influence whatsoever. They also had a harsh opinion about individuals that have committed suicide or have attempted to committing suicide, believing that these acts are for “over-dramatic attention seekers.”

Depression can be very complex.

It is developed in the mind, which we have yet to fully understand.

Since I was 14 I have been dealing with depression, and when I was 18 I was officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This path that I have been walking feels extremely long and arduous.

I am not usually the type to go parading about my issues to random individuals on the internet, but mental illnesses are serious. It’s important to realize the intensity of depression and how it makes life more complex than it needs to be in a number of different ways:

1.    Relationships:

Disrupted relationships can be a huge issue for individuals who suffer from depression or any mental illness. I’ve known a lot of individuals to develop abandonment issues with their depression.

Think about it: We’re with our partner, having a great time in the amusement park and suddenly depression hits out of nowhere. Suddenly there is a random heavy weight on our shoulders. Our partner asks you what is wrong, and we do not know how to answer. All we can say is “I’m depressed” and our partner struggles to help us because most of the time there is no cause to our depression, it just happens.

Or we are invited to a social gathering with our partner and last minute can’t go because the thought of being with a group of people makes us sick to the stomach and we start getting an anxiety attack.

Not a lot of people know how to handle situations like this, which can cause a lot of problems if we are with someone who does not understand what we are going through.

2.    Blending In:

When we are out and about publically and we are depressed, we can feel the need to put a fake smile on so people don’t start questioning what is wrong, view us as a “downer” or the “negative energy to the group.”

From my experience, when I am depressed I get ticked-off easily and I need to distance myself from a group of people so they don’t get freaked out. When I finally get home I let it all out and cry in my pillow while filling myself up with Nutella and telling myself I will never do that again. And maybe punch a wall—I’m working on it.

3.    Confusion of Identity:

I do not know if this only directs to individuals with BPD, and this may sound cliché, but I have no idea who I am.

One day I am an ultra-confident girl who has her life together and knows what she wants to do for the rest of her life. The next I do not care and lose interest in everyone I know. I ignore all my messages and just feel pure emptiness. My self-image and career goals change rapidly. As do my interests, values and role in society. It is exhausting.

4.    Accepting that this will not go away:

Mental illnesses become a constant, we cannot drown ourselves in anti-depressants and make them go away permanently. They will always be a part of who we are as a person—we just need to learn how to cope with them.

Therapy really helps. Having someone in our lives who understands what we are going through helps as well, because the last thing we need is to feel alone in this big world.

We are never alone, and it does get better. What we feel is all temporary.

This is what I struggle with most throughout the day to day, and have for years. The mind is powerful, yes, but if we do not like the way things are in our head, we can only change the way we view them. We can adjust our mindset, but we cannot make depression simply go away.

When I started working out, doing yoga and connecting with nature it helped. A lot.

If we just mope around in our room all day and avoid everyone, we are not helping ourselves.

Developing hobbies can ease the mind and lead to true happiness.

I developed a hobby of writing, which will always be there. If for some reason I become impaired when I age and am not able to write, I have nature walks, fitness and yoga as a backup. If I age and cannot do those as often due to physical blocks, I have reading, drawing and puzzles. All of these hobbies will always be here for me whenever I want.

There is always hope, we do not need to be depressed our whole life.

There will always be people who are able to understand, to help, to listen, to cry to. We can surround ourselves with the right people, develop the right attitude toward life and try finding someone we’re comfortable with opening up to.

Stay Strong.

 

Relephant Reads:

How Depression Serves Us.

~

Author: Vanessa Colaiacovo

Apprentice Editor: Guenevere Neufeld / Editor: Emma Ruffin

Image via Pixoto

 

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Vanessa Colaiacovo