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5 Things I Didn't Know About Depression Until It Happened to Me

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I experienced my first depressive episode during the second semester of my sophomore year of college. After experiencing a series of events that shook me mentally and emotionally, my anxiety was understandably at an all-time high. Then, it suddenly crashed.

I woke up crying, went to bed crying and sat on the toilet crying for almost two weeks straight. Getting in the shower sounded like backpacking through Europe. Walking outside? Forget it. 

Hello depression, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Ariella and I have a feeling we’re about to get to know each other all too well. I’m aware of your friendship with anxiety, so I was expecting you would pay me a visit one day. 

Although I knew the surface facts about depression, here are five things I didn’t know until it happened to me:

1. It’s not enough to “distract yourself.”

To me, depression was almost like grieving, and just like you wouldn’t ignore the grieving stage of losing a loved one, you can’t just ignore depression.    

2. You feel alone, even though you’re not.

When I’m in the right mindset, I know I’m not alone when it comes to having generalized anxiety disorder and depression. But when I’m depressed, I always feel alone and somehow convince myself it’s true. The truth is you’re never alone. But depression can skew everything you know. 

3. It physically beats you up.

I always thought depression was the equivalent of sadness, but it’s so much more. It chews you up and spits you out. Along with the crying spells and irrational sad thoughts, my body became crippled. Getting off the couch to go to bed could be the biggest chore. Depression made me weak, suppressed my appetite and told my brain the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.

4. It’ll test you, but you’re stronger than you think.

During my first depressive episode, my eyes were so puffy I could barely see out of them. With time and patience (almost months for that first episode), I got through it and came out stronger than ever. As the quote goes, you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

5. Depression is the truest friendship test.

I found there’s no friendship test more accurate than the depression friendship test. Unfortunately, I lost touch with many people in my life after my first experience with depression. But if someone can’t handle you at your worst, they sure as hell don’t deserve you at your best. Depression taught me which people in my life will always be around, no matter what. When I’m depressed, having them around means the world.

Originally published: October 5, 2015
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