Tag: depressive disorder

Depression is not just in my head, it’s in my body too

This is for all those who so easily wave their hand and say ” Oh! It’s all in your head!”. Turns out, it’s not just in the head, depression gets out of your head and into your body.

Although when in the depths of the malady, it’s hard to pay attention to anything going around you or inside of you, yesterday, as I was climbing the usual staircase, I noticed how slowly I was doing it. My body felt heavy and I was taking each step as if it was a huge hurdle to surmount. Now the reason I noticed this was that on any other day, I always climb up and down the stairs rapidly, with my slippers flapping as I spring down. That’s when I also realized I hardly had any movement in my face, just the same sad expression, no reactions, nothing. I haven’t smiled since an entire week.

This got me thinking about the physical effects depression has on you. The lethargy is the more obvious one but there are other more subtle signs. I wanted to read more about the physical symptoms of depression and I found this slideshow  listing some of them. Of all the symptoms mentioned, I have experienced the oversleeping, lack of energy, slowing down of my body in general, change in appetite (this time I am just eating for the heck of it, I have no desire to eat. I am also drinking much less water now that I come to think of it. I’ve had my fair share of binge eating in the past though) and backache.

Reading backache on that list reminded me of how I spent the years 2012 -14 with a stiff back. This was the time when my depression was at its worst and I always had back troubles. At the time I never could have guessed that something so physical could be linked to depression.

Of course, one can always argue that all these are psychosomatic manifestations, however they don’t make depression any less physical, because the body does ultimately get affected. We often tend to think of our minds and our bodies separately, and I think that’s one of  the reasons people disregard mental illness as something purely psychological. They need physical proof that something is wrong. But we tend to believe the opposite with relative ease. It’s often the case that severe physical illness or injury can lead to depression. In this case, because we see a physical cause, it’s not that hard to accept.

As I wait for the medication to start working and the spring in my step to return, I hope people recognize depression for what it is and what it can do to not only the mind but to the body too.

P.S. The symptoms in the head are a whole other story. I’ll write about them when I can think and focus a little better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When relapse stares you in the face

My depression has relapsed. It’s back. There…I needed to write it out for me to accept that I cannot control my symptoms, yet again. Tomorrow I visit my psychiatrist, and wait for my therapist to fix up an appointment. It might be a couple of weeks before I can see her.

Since the past two weeks, I have been trying to evade the fact that certain circumstances have triggered the relapse, that I no longer feel okay, that I cannot control the relay of negative thoughts running through my head, that that familiar feeling of unworthiness, of life having no meaning is haunting me incessantly. I see no future, only darkness, hope seems like a myth, and death seems like the only answer. I am too weak to fight it, all the lessons learnt in the past have gone down the drain, and depression has won.

I was trying to avoid going back to medications and therapy, but I can’t anymore. Too much is at stake, I cannot let the cycle repeat itself. Last time it took me only my entire teenage, college life, and two failed attempts at therapy to get my illness in control. Not to mention that I lost a career and the best years of my young life in the process.

At that time I was a lost soul, trying to make a sense of the world which appeared so strange. What I did not realize was that I was the one with the crooked glasses, that it was my own convoluted brain that was lying to me. It was my mother who picked up on my symptoms of complete apathy towards life, moodiness, lack of energy, anxiety and utter hopelessness and suggested that I have depression. I, on the other hand, never saw them as symptoms. My mom kept insisting that this is more than just a passing phase and I kept arguing that I will change, just give me some time.

I am surprised that even now, when I have the knowledge and the experience that what I am experiencing are symptoms of depression, I am unwilling to see them. I just don’t want to accept that I was weak and I let it come back. The guilt is rising inside of me. I hate to make my parents go through this all over again. Of course, as I write these lines, some sane part of my brain tells me that the guilt is also part of the symptoms.

In 2011, my mom forced me somehow to see a psychologist, but the moment drugs were suggested, I bolted. I did not want to go down that road, I was obstinate. Two more years passed, things got really bad, I started having suicidal thoughts, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I finally accepted my situation, started seeking professional help. I continued for two years, taking medications, attending the sessions religiously. I got better. In April last year, I felt confident enough to get off medication and I did really well.

But here I am now, back on that same road, with a relapse staring me in the face. Depression is ready to punch me in the guts and knock me over. It has come with new symptoms along with the usual ones. I experienced enormous amounts of anger about trivial issues. I felt such rage that when I didn’t know how to handle it, I cut myself. I also tried to overdose, what stopped me midway was the thought of my parents having to deal with my dead body.

My mood got a little better for a few hours and I decided to write. It was the only outlet available to me. I am surprised at how I even managed to write a couple of posts that I did, because most of the time, I was just lying in bed, listless, tied in the cage of my negative mind, ready to throw in the towel.

I was being obstinate again about getting back into therapy, ┬áthe more my mother tried to talk to me, interrogate me, ask me to go to the therapist, the more I shut down, pushed her away and got worse. But somehow, she got through to me tonight and I agreed. This is my first big relapse after getting better and maybe that’s why it was so tough to acknowledge. Relapses are hard, hard to accept and harder to manage, because it means going through that same tedious process.

I begin mine again, tomorrow.

 

 

 

Depression creeps up on you

Now, to give you a little background, I am writing this blog because, first, I always wanted to write one, no surprises there! and second, I did not have anyone to share my stuff with. To be honest, I had gotten used to not sharing anything I was going through and that became normal for me. For many years now, I keep everything in the strong hold of my own mind. But it was a couple of weeks ago that I came across a TED talk by the psychologist Guy Winch called Why we all need to practice emotional first aid (https://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_the_case_for_emotional_hygiene) , and I realized that I needed to open up and share. As it has been difficult, almost impossible for me to express myself to others, I thought well why not write about it?

So, here I am, sharing my story, and looking forward to listening to others’ as well. For years I have tried to get myself out there, but the fear, the fear of people not understanding, the fear of being seen as weak, the insecurities, have stopped me from sharing.

In the spring of 2013 I was diagnosed with major recurring depressive disorder, anxiety and OCD. However, I have been suffering from depression since my teens, but I was oblivious to the fact and did not have the courage to accept that it was a problem.

I know to where I can trace the beginning but that would be going too far for an introduction. Staring from my first year while pursuing my undergraduate studies, in 2005, I starting losing interest, became chronically anxious, my grades went down, I felt sad, always. I had no energy and I did not want to take initiative to do anything. I kept ignoring it, reasoning that it was simply my laziness. It came to a point where I became so scared inside, so unsure of myself, that the moment I was asked a question, my heart would start pounding, I would start trembling, and I fought to not let it show, to stop my throat from getting dry. This happened now on a daily basis and finally in my third year, I crashed. I failed my exam, I closed myself up, stopped talking to everyone, locked myself in my room and just started studying to retake the exam. Even then, I thought not of depression, I was too blind to the demon who had bought this upon me. And it would take me another six years to finally accept the fact that all was not well, that it wasn’t just a case of blues, and that I couldn’t shake it off and that I needed help.

A lot has happened since, and I will share more in the next post.