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.