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The Exhausting Symptom That Came Back When My Depression Did

I was in a major depressive episode from around age 14 to 22. After being in two years of remission, my depression has recently come back. When I came out of my episode, the most significant change I noticed was how much more I cared about life and the things I do.

Now that the depression is back, this is again the most significant thing affecting me. I have to fight to get myself to eat. I have to force myself to get up and go to work, to see friends, to do anything other than lie in bed and do nothing. When I do get up and go to work on time, while I’m there, my motivation is low and my quality of work goes down. By the time work is over, I’m too exhausted to do things in my free time and just go do something mind-numbing.

When the depression first started coming back, I had to fight a lot of self-destructive and self-medicative behaviors. I wanted to harm myself. I didn’t want to eat. I wanted to go get really drunk. I wanted to abuse drugs. I was living day to day with suicidal ideation. I was trying to grasp on to anything I could have control over. I’m at the point now that I’m so depressed that a lot of the physical self-harm doesn’t even feel appealing. I’m just dissociated and apathetic to everything that goes on around me.

I’m fortunate enough to have the privilege of having a job that is flexible and understanding. I’m fortunate enough to have the money to see a therapist regularly and have prescribed depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) medicine. I’m fortunate enough to have enough money to do a variety of things I enjoy so I can change up what I’m doing. I’m fortunate enough to have a great social support system. Being male with mental illness is a thing I have to fight with, but that’s a whole different thing I won’t go into here.

I know not everyone is as privileged as me, and I can’t begin to understand how this condition affects people who need to work 40+ hours per week to be able to afford a place to live and to eat. Who are living paycheck to paycheck because it’s hard to find affordable therapy and medicine. Who are socially isolated or live in a social setting where there is a major stigma against mental illness or expressing feelings. The battle is already hard enough without society fighting you every step of the way.

I want to say I’m proud of every single person living with depression or other mental illness. Fighting day to day to get up, to try to better yourself, to live, is always an uphill battle but you’re doing it. You’re doing your best every single day and really, what else could you ask for out of someone?

Photo by Camilla Carvalho on Unsplash