It´s no news, especially for the ones struggling with depression, how long and tough the process of healing is. One single situation can shock your world again and can make you feel like you are losing it again. Losing any progress you´ve made, your sanity and yourself. Often you don’t even need a trigger. You wake up and it’s there; again.
Dealing with your mental health is so so messy and the world around us seems somehow to romanticizing it. Scrolling through social media makes it even worse as there are so many tips floating around, so many self-acclaimed experts and so few real stories. Mental health issues nowadays seem almost to be “en vogue” to have them. You hear people say “gosh, I was so depressed today” or “the weather makes me depressed”. So many self-testing posts and self-diagnosis tools are out there. But what they all have in common is, that they often reduce the actual pain of those really affected.
Depression is an actual disease and not just a trend to follow or something you should easily claim to have. It is real and the consequences are real too. It is nothing you should self-diagnose and it is more than just crying or being in a sad mood. Having actual episodes is dark and messy. It is draining and so f*** uncontrollable.
After my last blog post many things have changed. Sometimes things happen you have absolutely no control of, they trigger you, then the darkness comes. These dark episodes crawl up slowly. They come and there is often no chance to escape. Trying to keep on going, working and trying to pretend nothing has changed, makes it even. To have these situations understood cognitively does not help at all. Even the acceptance is after all these years not always there.
One moment you can feel so damn good, everything seems to flow again and the other moment you are just devastated and question everything. You think you have everything under control with all your therapy skills and whatever mechanism you have and then life f*** you double so hard. Everything you have learned is gone. For people not suffering from a mental disease it’s sometimes hard to understand how big the spectrum of emotions is and how close contrary emotions are actually together. You fall in this very deep dark whole, you think you will never get out. The truth is, sure we somehow get out bc that’s the only option we have, but how and to what cost, that’s the big question.
In some of these episodes I often heavily scroll through social media. And to all the already existing emotions some anger steps in. Why? Because of all these “great tips” and the unsolicited advice many people think they have the right to give you or better said the world. And with that I don´t mean actual pages of psychologist or doctors or similar. I mean non-professionals. Tips like, “If you are depressed, do these 10 things.”. Fuck, no. I don’t want to go outside or cook my favorite meal or shower. I want to lay there and I want it to be ok to do so.
I really thought about that this post a lot, if it is good to put this out there, as it might seem a bit negative and people tend to rather read uplifting things. But depression and the healing process is not like that. It’s not like just following a list of things and then suddenly you feel better. Sure, there are things that might help some people. But very honestly, there are episodes for people suffering from trauma and major depression that cannot be fix with all these instagramble tips. In lasting episodes you stop doing core things like showering, brushing teeth, sometimes excessively scrolling through social media to distract you, excessively sleeping as intrusive thoughts have no space while you are sleeping, feeling absolutely nothing, having intense and dark thoughts and so much more. There are days you feel paralyzed, numb, more dead than alive. I could just keep on going. It’s a heavy and a dark place. These are the episodes not many people talk about for many different reasons.
For me being in such episodes, it’s not the crying, being in pain, having shivers, the withdrawing from everything or anything like that. For me it’s the acceptance that once again I am having to go through this process, that it is out of my control that certain things happen and that it will take an insane amount of energy to get your self going again.
People dealing with these episodes will mostly think that others, not going through the same things, will actually understand. It is hard to explain and it is even harder to apologize after for “not functioning” and withdrawing, not answering to any kind of message or call. To have the depression guilt.
Long story short. My intention for this post is not to give you any tips on how to handle (severe) episodes. I am not a skills expert. But I am affected myself and I know how it feels as well as I know what comforted me the most in the past. I don´t wanted to hear anything about self care or that it will pass. In these moments I craved for understanding, safety, for likeminded people that exactly know how it feels. So, rather my intention is to tell you or anybody who suffers some things that are far more important to hear:
- You are not alone.
- You are not a burden.
- Trauma/Depression is a bitch and it is real.
- It is ok to not be ok.
- Don´t listen to the toxic positive bullshit people tell you about anything you feel or how you should feel. Fuck them. They are not in your shoes.
- You don´t have to do anything until you feel like it again.
And for everyone having a loved one suffering. Reach out (over and over again, even if there will not always be answer), listen and just try to be there. Withdrawn is the biggest sign something is not ok. Your “job” is not to give good tips or find a rational solution. There is nothing more valuable than having someone around who is listening without judgement, someone you can just be silent with or who does distract you with whatever feels good. You might not understand what this person feels or is going through and you certainly don’t have to. Also you are not able to fix it and you don´t have to. Just give them the feeling they are seen, heard and not being alone. Then the weight to carry feels less heavy and the ones suffering are feeling much more safe while the episode and after.
Bei Suizidgefahr: Notruf 112
Deutschlandweites Info-Telefon Depression, kostenfrei: 0800 33 44 5 33
Beratung in Krisensituationen: Telefonseelsorge (0800/111-0-111 oder 0800/111-0-222, Anruf kostenfrei) oder Kinder- und Jugendtelefon (Tel.: 0800/111-0-333 oder 116-111)
Bei der Deutschen Depressionshilfe sind regionale Krisendienste und Kliniken zu finden, zudem Tipps für Betroffene und Angehörige.
In der Deutschen Depressionsliga engagieren sich Betroffene und Angehörige. Dort gibt es auch eine E-Mail-Beratung für Depressive.
Eine Übersicht über Selbsthilfegruppen zur Depression bieten die örtlichen Kontaktstellen (KISS).