The very first time that I got a taste of depression was 19 years old. I was a sophomore in college, fresh out of high school (sorta kinda), and plunged into the “real world.” A doe-eyed deer, if you will, to life and hardship. Before that time in my life, my biggest problem involved what outfit I would wear and shoes to match it. By 19, I had shaved my head bald, switched majors at least three times, and I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a career or in my then relationship. Every day was like a blur. I ate junk for breakfast lunch and dinner. I could give a shit what I wore out in public. I cried in my dorm room bed more often than not. All while my bipolar disordered roommate yelled obscenities at the top of her lungs in the living room standing on the ottoman furniture. Depression felt like a big ass black hole that I desperately wanted to climb out of, except I felt powerless in doing so.
I’ve realized that depression can come in many forms. It is not confined to feeling “blue” all of the time or sleeping in when you know you should be doing something more productive. This go-round, depression feels like anger. It feels like aching joints. It feels like carelessness. It feels like headaches and insomnia. This version of depression is one that I’m unfamiliar with, and I had not realized what I am even dealing with before doing a bit more research. This post will outline some uncommon symptoms regarding depression that many people miss.
So, the primary emotion that I realized I was continually having to check myself on is easily being angered. It literally does not take much for me to become defensive, and I am not that type of person by default. For the vast majority of my life, I have been the sweet, easy-going, quick to forgive and forget, kind of individual. Something as simple as my mom asking me a question will send me into a fury and cause me to snap at her. This ended with me apologizing and attempting to retract what I said because I felt horrible that I had spoken to her with such venom in my voice.
I’m not a gym rat, and so I don’t expect to be in tip-top shape when it comes to my physical. However, I do not usually experience muscle pain or cramps when my menstrual cycle is nowhere near. The other day, I noticed that my legs started to ache out of thin air it seemed. This could actually be due to my overly demanding and heavy labor work, but the cramps? Also, headaches are seemingly increasing.
Social Media Binging
I have not been on Facebook as actively as I am now, in years. I vowed to myself that I would keep a distance away from it along with many other social media platforms because I personally feel that social media can be toxic for your mental health if consumed in unhealthy amounts. Facebook will have you believe that all of your “friends” are talking shit about you when in reality, they’re probably referencing the rude drive-through employee that tried to keep their change. If you’re not a person who has a healthy mindset, this could send you deeper into a depressive state. Instead of using my free time to read an excellent book, I’m on Facebook just-a-scrollin’. Not healthy at all.
Being a Busy Body
While some folks may react to their depression by doing absolutely nothing, others, like me, go the opposite route of working ourselves to death. As I previously stated in one of my last points, I work for a company that is truly demanding and taxing on my body. Do I want to stop? Hell no, because I would rather work myself into an early grave than think about why I feel like shit. Being a workaholic has its positives, but it also has some negatives as well. There needs to be a balance. When you are in a depressed mode, however, you’re more likely to care less about how much or how hard you’re working yourself.
This one is more of a situational point having to do with depression. This point can be understood as the event that took place which catapulted you into this disposition in the first place. A year ago, I experienced abuse on many different levels. Yes, physical abuse was one of them. After the separation between this person and I, I found that the trauma I’d encountered was still weighing heavy on me. I tried everything in my power to forgive, forget, and move forward, but it was so overwhelming to my spirit that I found it hard to shake off. I had never had this happen to me before. It was a new, internal battle that I faced. I am still facing it now.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with no readily reasonable explanation why, I encourage you to pray, keep the faith, seek a licensed professional therapist, and know that these are complicated feelings that will eventually fade with time and support from people that genuinely care about your well-being such as family, close friends, or a mentor. Train yourself to keep a positive mindset and actively choose to do right by you whenever possible. Be patient in your journey.
Also, if you have any personal stories that you would like to share in the comment section of this blog, please do. It may help someone else tremendously through their healing process.