Depression is not always feeling sad and spending days in bed, crying.
Depression isn’t always feeling worthless and useless. It looks different for everyone who experiences it. Whether personally or from the outside, it is never quite the same.
I was arriving home from work one day, and as I pulled up to my house, I had no recollection of the drive. Not any part of it. That was 20 minutes in my car and I could not recall any of it. That happened a handful of times before I finally got freaked out enough to call my doctor.
I was 21, working at a great job making great money, had a busy social life, and had lots of friends. By all accounts, I was really happy. I was full of energy and happy almost every day. I don’t recall any feelings of sadness around that time.
It’s been 21 years since then and I have been on antidepressants ever since. To say they have saved my life is an understatement. I am forever grateful to science and the power of medicine.
Luckily for me, I have more good days than bad. If I am consistent with my meds, eat well, and exercise, I feel amazing most days. Most…but not all. Every once in a while, that darkness creeps in and kicks my ass.
On those dark days, I struggle to get out of bed. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. I lose interest in my favorite things. I avoid phone calls and texts. My patience runs out and my agitation skyrockets.
On those days, I make it a point to reach out to someone to talk to, even though it’s the last thing I want to do. I practice being kind and gentle with myself. I allow myself to rest when I get fatigued.
On those days, you might see me and I’ll be smiling. I’ll be laughing and telling jokes. I’ll be lifting others up, as is usually my nature. From the outside, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I suffer sometimes.
Because this disease looks different for everyone, I encourage you to practice being kind as often as possible. You never know what someone is going through. The kindness that you show to someone might make their whole day. It might be exactly what they needed in that moment.
Your kindness just might save a life.