Mental Health Awareness Month: Living With Depression

Mental illness doesn’t come with a specific set of symptoms, you can’t look at a person and see spots that mean depression, swelling that means anxiety, or a rash that points to an eating disorder.  There is no way to look at a person and know what they’re struggling with on the inside, no way to glance at a friend and know they’re fighting demons.

Depression doesn’t look the same way to everyone, it doesn’t look the same way on everyone – sometimes it’s a girl who looks like she has the world at her feet that feels the most empty, sometimes it’s the boy who’s afraid to talk after being told his voice doesn’t matter. It affects people of circumstance and people in need, it touches the lives of both the young and old, the lucky and the not so lucky. Depression doesn’t discriminate; it doesn’t prey on only the weak, it doesn’t care if you’re struggling or not, it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain that can make even the most full life seem empty.

Depression symptoms can range from a lack of sleep and eating to a lack of a will to live at all, it can make your days seem a little bit difficult to downright impossible. Depression symptoms can vary daily but hurt all the same, and the one thing most sufferers need more of is compassion, understanding, and love.

It’s knowing the sun is shining but not being able to feel it’s warmth. It’s knowing the light is on but still living in the dark. It’s knowing that people love you, but feeling undeserving of that love. It’s feeling an ache that you can’t fix, no matter how hard you try and wanting so had to feel the happiness from a smile but being unable.

Depression isn’t a glamorized world with blacks and greys and loneliness that looks pretty on film – it’s a deep despair and loneliness that eats away at you even when you’ve got love and support within arms reach.  Depression can sneak up on you when you least expect it and flip your entire world upside down.

If you’re suffering from depression yourself, the idea of getting better may seem completely out of reach.  If you love someone who suffers from depression, the desire to help them may be great, but making it happen can be impossible.  While there’s no set way to handle depression, there’s also no set way to support someone who has it – but the two things that are needed consistently; love and support.

Loving someone with depression can be difficult and loving yourself when you have depression can seem impossible – but love doesn’t fail and if you continue to support the person you care for who suffers from depression, and if you’re willing to try to fight against it yourself, the dark days eventually get a little bit lighter.

Some tips on loving someone with depression include remembering that they’re not just sad, and their depression doesn’t have anything to do with you; most often – they wish they could reach out but simply cannot. Being patient with your loved one and letting them, and yourself, know that even small steps are big accomplishments is also important.

If you suffer from depression yourself, it’s important to remember that depression doesn’t define you – it’s a part of who you are, but not the essence of your existence.  You are more than the

If you want some advice about loving someone with depression, there are helpful tools online and an in-depth go to guide here.

 

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.