How Depression Affected My Outgoing Personality
I have always been the life and soul of the party.
When I enter a room I am smiling and it’s infectious; people often comment on how they hear me before they see me because of my bellowing laugh.
That’s why, when depression took hold of me and I felt like I had no energy left to pretend, it shook me to my core.
Everybody has rough times or bad days where they feel sad or unmotivated. Without sounding dramatic, I want to try to explain what my depression means to me.
It’s like no matter how many hours you manage to sleep, you wake up feeling exhausted and just the thought of putting on clothes and taking a shower can make you want to cry.
It’s wanting to be able to respond to your calls or texts or go out and see people, but there’s an invisible hold telling you not to leave the safety of your bed, or in my case couch.
It’s trying to think of all the things you have to live for and look forward to, but a numbing ache inside of you stopping you from feeling any excitement or joy.
It’s wanting to eat, to enjoy a good meal, but not being able to taste anything or get any satisfaction from your favorite foods so eventually giving up and losing your appetite.
I wasn’t born this way; when I was 15, circumstances in my life made me start to struggle with anxiety. That’s when the panic attacks and the night tremors started, the fear of going outside and the fear making/answering a phone call. I’ve come a long way since then.
I learned amazing strength. I overcame a toxic relationship involving physical and mental violence. I’ve experienced betrayals from friendships which were never repaired, and family damage — most of which is now repaired, some of which never will be. I watched my mum and dad separate in an awful way, and I really doubted if it was ever possible to find someone who would be true to me and not stab me in the back because that’s all I had ever known.
That’s when I met my husband. He came into my life when I was on a rocky path and had no trust for anyone. He picked me up and started to put me back together. He supported me through my bad days and reassured me when my anxiety created lies and worries of the worst case scenario. For almost seven years he was my only support. That’s when depression reared its ugly head again.
My wedding was just around the corner and I was at my healthiest, looking my best, with a good job and great friends; but depression doesn’t pick a good time, it just throws itself over you like a black cloak. Without realizing, I had slipped in to a dark disgusting hole I couldn’t claw my way out of. My best friend, who was the one safe place in my life, ended up being someone I ran away from. I ran so far I didn’t stop to realize, to think what was happening. It wasn’t until I opened the door to an empty house had I realized what had happened. I sat and cried in that house for four hours and I didn’t leave my bed all night. I was frozen. Depression had taken over my brain, my words, my actions to the point where it had thrown away the one constant positive in my life.
It continued to ruin me in the months that followed, still unaware I was suffering. I felt like I was OK. I was vulnerable and weak and in so much pain. People took advantage of me. Some people saw the vulnerability in me and used it against me. They kicked me when I was down and used me for their own gain, to make themselves feel worthy or popular. When I started to come back down to earth and realize I needed to snap out of it, to try to get my life back, these people did the worst things to me. It’s true what they say…. you only see people’s true colors in your darkest times.
I realized how some of the people I trusted and thought had my best interest in mind were actually just using me and exploiting me. That was the final blow. My story concluded with my illness convincing me that it would be better for me to not stick around, in any way.
I was lucky — lucky enough that the guardian angel who saved me all those years ago, who stuck with me and put me back together, saw my cry for help. Because of that, I am able to write this story today.
Today I am still empty and upset and trying to heal from all the pain the last few months have caused me. I’m trying to forgive myself for the pain I had caused others, because of my mental illness controlling me. I am hopeful that, one day, my life will be back to where it once was. I will be stronger for it. I won’t pay mind to the people who wanted to bring me down and break me.
If I could provide any advice to anyone who feels close to what I’ve described… do not struggle in silence. Talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to be judged because no one is judging you. Just like a good friend told me when I felt like giving up, there are so many people who love you and this world needs you.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via Zoonar RF