Depression, for a fact, has become an epidemic in today’s world. Adding more to this is the constant craving for attention and validation we get from social media. The pressure is on to gain acceptance from society. If you are not on social media, you are probably not living, so they say.
It’s ironic because as an online professional, I always believe and let my clients believe that, if your business doesn’t have a social media or an online presence, then you don’t have a business.
More and more people are getting depressed because of the high expectations they set for themselves in accordance with how society wants them to be. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression in 2011. Since then I have always used the word “battling with depression.” I would use it in the blogs that I wrote and in the conversations I had with people.
At that time, for me to be able to function as normally as I could, and just forget being depressed, was to take anti-depressants as prescribed by doctors. And as a patient who wanted to get better, I took it without knowing the side effects.
I recently watched a Ted talk How To Stay Calm When You Know You’ll be Stressed by Daniel Levitin, where he mentioned about how we don’t really bother to know the side effects for every medication that we’re given. He said that for every 300 people taking a certain drug, there would only 1 that would be cured. And out of that 300 people, 15 of them would be suffering the side effects. This became quite controversial when a lot of medical practitioners disagreed with it. Accurate or not, we need to be more aware of the side effects of every medication we take.
And because of this, not fully understanding the side effects of antidepressants and becoming pregnant in a time that wasn’t so convenient, I had no choice but to abruptly stop the medication which led me to have suicidal thoughts and one instance triggered me to commit suicide. Of course, it wasn’t successful because here I am now, still standing.
And so I often wondered why I would say “battling my depression” when in that frame of mind, I knew that I was already on the losing end. I certainly do not want to go back into that situation where charcoal was being pumped into my system to get rid of the toxins.
I have learned that we have a tendency to self-prophesy. And to always declare that you are battling with depression, it seems to me like I was always in a constant power struggle with it. I was giving it power and a chance to win over me. I wanted to change that mindset. Instead of battling with it, why can’t I just be friends with it?
Is it possible? Is it doable? I would not know if I don’t try it.
So I set out on a mission to befriend my depression. What do we do when we want to befriend someone?
- Get to know your subject.
When we want to befriend someone, the first thing we do is to know our subject. So I went about researching, reading a lot about depression, do everything I could to understand the hows and whys of it. If you don’t know anything about something or someone, it is kind of scary. Getting to know more about it gave me comfort that it was something that was curable and many people had healed from it.
- Be true to yourself.
Acknowledging and accepting yourself is the first step to healing, whether you are a recovering addict, or just physically sick. When you acknowledge that fact that you are depressed instead of being in a constant battle or in denial about it, it makes it easier for you to adjust and to determine what state or condition you are in at the moment.
- Discover the real purpose for your situation.
This might sound a bit preposterous for this situation, but I always believe that things happen for a reason. And I also believe that there was a big reason why I was clinically depressed. Every experience and struggles I had in the past has molded me into becoming the woman that I am now. And so I believe, that whatever situation you are in right now, it has its purpose. Find that purpose. I found the real reason why I experienced that moment in my life. And that is to be able to talk about it in an audience who might be suffering from it, yet not knowing how to deal with it.
- Talk or write about it. Invite it to your house.
When you make a new friend, you tend to talk about it a lot. And when there’s more reason than just being platonic friends, we even write about him or her. We invite friends over to our house. And that’s what I did. I wrote about depression in most of my blogs, talk about it with people who might be suffering from it. I also tried to invite it over to my house, meaning I informed family members about it. I brought the subject home. Because this is the only way I could get people to understand me when the black dog visits.
- Manage your expectations.
You don’t expect so much from friends because when you start expecting, you are setting yourself up for disappointments. Disappointments and frustrations lead to misunderstandings, some that could even lead to broken relationships.
So with my depression, I stopped expecting it to show my best self and accepted the fact that I feel depressed and sad at that moment. I don’t expect depression to go away in an instant, but I know that one can heal from that,
It was only when I started to change how I see my depression that I also started to see changes in me. I stopped using the word “battling” because it only reaffirms that depression is something that I am always struggling with. When I started befriending my depression, the whole concept of depression changed for me. It was no longer something that I would struggle with, but something that I could live with, by knowing the right way to manage it. Of course, other patients would need medication, but this is only for me, and how my perspective changed about depression when I started to befriend it and embraced it into my life.
I still fear when it visits me because it can still be unpredictable. Just like the friendships that we have in life, no one is really predictable. You can never tell from the get-go that this person will be a great friend or not.
If there’s one thing’s for sure that I know about depression is that it is curable, manageable and many can heal from it.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in depression. This based on my personal experience and each person with depression has different needs. For more information on how to manage your profession, please seek the advice of professionals.
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