When Depression Steals Your Interests

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I remember a time in my life when I was sure about everything I believed in. A time where I never doubted myself or what I liked, believed in or who were the good people for my life.

That time seems like maybe a few lifetimes ago — I feel like I have no identity now. When I say that, I mean I have things that I like, but I may not like tomorrow with my depression. Let me give you an example: If I go to a coffee shop for a few days that I really like, but one day the line is just a little too long for my anxiety to handle, it is ruined for me. I hate that damn place with every fiber of my being! How could anyone want to go into that place. The line is 10 years long!

See where I am getting at?

I don’t know how it is for all of you guys out there battling major depression, but I continuously have to try and find things I’m interested in. Desperately looking for something to grab my attention that I can turn into a hobby. Something to at least waste the time so I’m not just sitting on my couch after work and staring into a blank TV for hours on end. I desperately look for interests all the time, my depression just will not let anything stick for me. It steals my ability to stay interested in anything for too long. “What’s the point in getting into this? This is silly and time wasting and you won’t be any good at it. You don’t have the time or the motivation to dedicate to a hobby anyways you lazy piece of shit.”

I feel like a prisoner. I feel like a prisoner, not closed in by four physical walls necessarily, but chained to a monstrous dark beast behind me who follows me everywhere I go. I am never alone, because this dictator constantly follows me and tries to tell me how to feel and think and live.

“You know that once you accepted me as your dark passenger, all happiness went out the window right? It’s my turn to dictate your life. You did a shitty job before you accepted me anyways. That’s why I took the reigns from you. I’ll handle things from here on out.”

Yes folks, I believe I am in my dark pit again. I am fighting like hell though because I know there are people that might need to read my story. Maybe I can save someone if I tell them that despite what’s going on with me and my depression, there is always hope for you and your depression.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Everyone’s depression is different because no two people are alike. No two people think the same or process anything exactly the same way. That is what makes us so horribly, beautifully, unique. While we all fight depression, we all fight it differently. We all fight it in our unique way.

This is something I have to remind myself on my worst days and it is something I hope you can keep with you to inspire you to keep fighting. Keep coming up with new tactics to share with us. Share your stories. Get your voice heard! That is the only way true change happens! We need to have our stories read people! Just like all life is precious, the story of your life is precious as well. Let your stories be told. Do not hold your tongue. Life is too short to be quiet. I am realizing this now as I write.

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What I Hope Others Learn From My Depression Story

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For seven years I have struggled with severe depression, anxiety and insomnia. For six years I kept my lips sealed and did nothing. For five years I did not know what was wrong with me and how it wasn’t normal to feel so sad all the time. For four years I pushed aside my feelings and did not acknowledge them. For three years I wrote down every single feeling and every single reason behind every single tear. For two years I secretly wrote down the reasons I wanted to die and how I would die. For one year I tried to save myself. And now, right now in this moment, I am writing this to warn the others who struggle like me. I want to stress to you to seek help before it becomes too late.

People will claim they understand or have felt “depressed” before, but it does not relate or reassure anyone. Honestly, I feel a little offended. Everyone is entitled to their own personal feelings, but how could someone casually throw around a word that has killed so many people? In today’s society the word “depressed” gets tossed around too lightly, when oftentimes if you have depression, the word itself is too heavy to even roll off the tip of your tongue. Emotions are precious and essential to life. The good and the bad are just a part of this tragic world we live in, but emotions are vital to growth. I am not saying people who say they have experienced depression are claiming a false depression. There are different forms and levels and I think everyone has experienced it in different ways.

I personally have lived a life that felt like hell for the past seven years because of depression. For seven years I have silently struggled and lost a piece of myself every second that has ticked by. Depression is merciless. Most nights I lie awake at 4:30 a.m. praying for sleep to save me from the horrors inside my mind. The worst part about depression, anxiety and insomnia is insomnia makes me afraid of the night, while depression makes me afraid of the day. I live my life in a sea of unbearable anxiety and I am slowing losing strength to tread water. I have unknowingly hidden depression deep within the cracks of the foundation of my heart. Depression, anxiety and insomnia have a vice grip on my heart and are squeezing it relentlessly to the point of utter destruction.

For seven of my 19 years of existence, I have had this sense of sadness seep into my bones. My eyes are scarred with a deep look of tragedy and my brain is deeply disillusioned. My bones ache from sadness. My bones creak and crack as if I am 60 and have lived an entire life. But the reality is I am only 19 and have barely scraped the surface of life. I now must find a way to save myself and redeem those seven years before it becomes too late. So I urge you to heed my advice, seek help before you can look back at the past seven years and watch them count down to self-destruction. I hope in seven years time I will be able to count down to right now — this very moment — and look at the growth from the emotions I have felt these past seven years. Depression is a process, whether you allow it to wither down your existence or build up your story is solely up to you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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To the Friends Who Left Because of My Mental Illness

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Thank you. Truth is that is the only thing I can do. I thank you for being a part of my life for the time that you were there, and I thank you for leaving and making me a stronger person. Yes, it is one of the hardest parts of living with a mental illness, constantly seeing people walk out of your life, but at the same time it gives you a chance to reevaluate your relationships. If you aren’t able to handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve to be there when I’m at my best.

I want you to know mental illness is real. Brains are beautiful organs responsible for so many important tasks, but just like any other organ in the body, they can get sick. The thing about when your mind becomes sick is that it can take years before it manifests into something noticeable. When it finally makes its presence known, you might be able to minimize the pain for a while without anybody noticing, but after suppressing it for so long, it comes at you like a boomerang. To the people around you, it can seem like a sudden change, a complete 360 in a short amount of time. But, really it has been there all along, slowly stabbing the dagger deeper and deeper.

At some point the depression gets so bad, getting out bed and brushing your teeth is an accomplishment. Eating three meals a day is nearly impossible and keeping up with schoolwork is a challenge. Maintaining friendships is a difficult task when you can’t get out of bed or brush your teeth. I don’t expect you to understand how I feel, since you may have never experienced a mental illness, but at some point just being there is important. But, you aren’t there anymore. Is it because of my mental illness? Is it because you have moved on? I don’t know.

What I do know is how hard it is to not have the people in your life that were once your best friends. What I do know is that my mental illness does not define me. What I do know is that I will not invalidate myself because of my mental illness or beat myself up because of lost friendships. I will champion the little accomplishments I make every day. I will continue the practice of self-care. I will seek help when I need it. I won’t let the stigma of mental illness win.

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Valentine's Cards in the Store Won't Say What I Need Them to as a Person With Depression

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I have always loved Valentine’s Day. Loved the idea of it. I haven’t celebrated many, but now I have an amazing partner who celebrates with me.

The issue is what do you say, write or do that explains how you feel? Love is personal. Love comes in many different forms. And loving some one who has difficult mental health issues can be shown in many different ways.

Also expecting someone’s love when you have mental health can be really difficult too, especially if you don’t feel too great about yourself.

This year I wanted to use Valentine’s Day as a way of saying a big thank you to my partner.

But there are no Valentine’s cards that thank you for reminding me to take my medication every day or for making sure I shower. Or balloons that say “I love the way you hold my hands when I want to hurt myself.”

I have decided to plan Valentine’s evening in advance so I can have a calm and happy time. And I’ll write the following in a card: thank you for loving me even when I can’t.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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Depression Lies

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It tells you,
you don’t belong here.
It tells you,
you should just disappear.
It tells you,
you amount to nothing.
It tells you,
you should just stop all of the struggling.

People try to convince you that you matter,
but it only just twists the dagger.
People try to convince you it’ll get better,
but it only deepens the pressure.

Depression lies.

It’s not just a bad day,
it’s a string of them that have decided to stay.
It’s a grey cloud over your head,
that you just can’t seem to shed.

Depression tells you,
you aren’t worth it.
Depression tells you,
you should just quit.

But, depression lies.

On the worst days,
you can’t get out of bed.
On the worst days,
your body feels likes it has just been unthread.

No matter how many times someone says they love you,
you’ll never think it’s true.
No matter how many times someone says you aren’t a burden,
you will never believe their jargon.

But, depression lies.

I know depression lies,
but that doesn’t mean it changes the color of my sky.
The sky is still grey,
and I still want to get away.
I know depression lies,
but I still let it make me cry.
They say it’s all in my head,
but my body still feels like it’s made up of led.

When will it end?
I keep going because I know depression lies.
But when will it end?
I hope I can survive,
even when I know depression lies.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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22 Things People Don't Tell You About Starting Antidepressants

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Editor’s note: This piece is based on the experience of individuals. Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

For many, the decision to start antidepressants can be a difficult and scary one, and not knowing how an antidepressant will affect you coupled with the stigma surrounding psychiatric medication certainly doesn’t help. 

While finding the right antidepressant might seem like a daunting process, when prescribed by a doctor, antidepressants can be wonderful tools for managing symptoms of mental illness. That being said, we know there isn’t a lot of information out there to help people prepare for starting antidepressants for the first time. We asked our Mighty community to tell us what no one tells you about starting antidepressants.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “A long time of trial and error… until you find the medication that’s working for, not against you.” — Anki L.

2. “It won’t necessarily work right away. Sometimes it takes some time to kick in. As hard as it can be, stick with it, be patient and don’t give up hope. Because even if this isn’t the one which will eventually work, there is something out there that will.” — Jen D.

3.People might assume you missed a dose because you still experience negative emotions like everyone else while on them. If you feel numb, like a zombie or generally feel worse after taking them for the recommended time due to side effects, please, please please tell your doctor… Also, don’t just quit them regardless of whether or not you feel like they’re helping you. You have to safely taper off of them. Please don’t give up!” — Nicole C.

4.My advice is if you are thinking about starting or [are] currently on an antidepressant, think about or research the withdrawal effects because there [may] be a time when you do not need to use them anymore.” — Amanda H.

5. “Withdrawal effects. The first time I forgot to take my medication for a few days, I was so afraid of the ‘brain zap’ feeling I got and how debilitating that split-second feeling was.” — Brenna M.

6. “Weight gain. Being tired all of the time but not being able to sleep. Being numb. Going through tons of different kinds of antidepressants to find the right one that works.” — Alex R.

7. “You are your own guinea pig. It may take several tries to get the right medication and dose. Also, don’t be afraid to call your doctor if your new medication makes you feel ‘off.’ Never stop medication without a doctor’s approval first. Some medication has intense withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop it, so your doctor should advise you how to wean yourself off it if need be.” — Emily D.

8. “Not every day will be easy. Stuff will still trigger me.” — Tamara Lynne P.

9. “Antidepressants help with mood, but self-care needs to still be practiced to battle depression.” — Laura R.

10. “They react differently with each person.” — Gloria H.

11. “Make a schedule so you don’t forget to take it at the same time every day. Forgetting just once can mean a wave of side effects and withdrawal symptoms.” — Emily F.

12. “Feeling content can be uncomfortable at first. Especially if you’ve gotten used to living in the chaos. Also, medication alone is not always the answer. Therapy and learning about self-care is critical.” — Pamela S.

13. “They aren’t an immediate ‘cure-all.’ It takes a lot of trial and error… to become stable. You have to still do other stuff to deal with the depression. It takes discipline. There is no magic pill. That said, I feel like being on them is of benefit to myself and those around me.” — Lilith G.

14. “You might get side effects that aren’t expected, like diarrhea or constipation. No one ever talks about the gross parts.” — Megan M.

15. “Do you know they can increase your chances of getting cavities because of the dry/cotton mouth?” — Joanna C.

16. “Do your best to never miss a dose. And be sure to confirm your dosage on every appointment and refill.” — Amanda W.  

17. “For me it was the physiological changes. I didn’t realize how much my body hurt until the pain went away. My metabolism increased so I lost weight even though I was enjoying food again and eating more. My psychologist did warn me I might get nauseated.” — Shanta K.

18. “Weight gain, feeling tired and in turn, non-stop yawning. Those side effects have now passed. The only side effect I still experience every day is the excessive sweating. I feel so much warmer than I ever have before. Just walking up the stairs starts me off.” — Alice H.

19. “It matters what time you take them during the day. There should be way more ongoing support for people taking a new medication.” Brooke H.

20. “No one told me about the crap I would get from people around me. I felt better when I started taking them, but everyone around me got scared. I was happy the meds were helping, but many people were pushing me to get off of them or making comments about how dangerous they were. Other people were more afraid of them than I was and I was the one taking them.” — Julia A.

21. “They sometimes make you sick. You could end up with symptoms of a cold, diarrhea or nausea.” — Abigail M.

22. “Keeping in touch with your doctor regularly while finding medication that works best for you is key, but it’s also important to note they don’t fix everything. Therapy, counseling and taking care of yourself are all necessary steps in the process, because medication is not a ‘cure-all.’” — Kathryn D.

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