By Dylan Megginson
Most of the time the shadow of depression sneaks up on you. Things are going wonderful, then you find yourself stuck in bed for the third day in a row. Depression is an ugly monster that can take charge of your life; I have let it do so to mine. There are so many warning signs that things are about to get bad, but most of the time they fly under the radar. Still, those signs start to collect like snowflakes piling up to form something larger. Then, you suddenly realize that you are stuck in a hole that you dug yourself. Though you may have read and reacted to the warning signs, depression is relentless and is more than willing to take full grip of who you are. Anxiety plays well with depression, tag teaming your mind, molding your self image and self worth into such a distorted image that it can take months or years to become anywhere close to normal again.
For the past two or three years, depression has been without a doubt the toughest part of my life. Relationships have dissolved by my doing, being completely unbearable to be around due to the fact that I can say nothing positive. How can I fake positivity if all I feel is negative? My body hurts. I have a tough time sleeping and when I do, I awake in a sweat from nightmares that have become more reocurring. Each day, the people close to me are coming to the end of their ropes of how to help me. Professional help has been a dead end road, as well; so, where do I go from here? Though they may not work for all, there are so many other options available so that when you run into a speed bump, there will be another lane into which you can venture to see if it works for you. I’ve heard making yourself smile does release the endorphins that I crave so badly that I often find myself looking for them in a bottle or other vices – still, I have yet to find them. I do see the positives in life, though. I’m somewhat young at 22 and slightly unhealthy (but nothing to write home about).
So, the question that has been in my head for the majority of my twenties is, “Why?” Why can’t I find my happy? Many, many people have it so much worse than me. There are people that don’t have clean water or clothing, those basic things that are taken for granted by most everybody. Yet, more often than not, I cannot get myself to do basic everyday tasks. For instance, I had gone to the bank to get a new debit card, and it took me 10 minutes to find the courage to go in and get the help I needed. Once inside, the nice lady was more than happy to help me and I later felt like an idiot for feeling such anxiety about doing such a mundane task. Small situations like this add up and have started to make myself more of a recluse by the day. Lashing out at the ones who want to see me happy and then my embarrassing apologies have become part of my repertoire. Since the first time doing them and thereafter always doing them, they have long since run their course. The longer this eats away at my psyche, the less of a chance I feel I can be successful in the first job I’ve ever truly enjoyed — writing. As I work on myself, I ask a few things from those that read this: first, make sure your mental state is where you want it; and second, don’t repress situations that bother you — the hardest part of this will be finding somebody in which you feel comfortable telling all the details. Once you find this person, you must never let them go; don’t hold them too tight, but you have to understand that you need them. Know that it is okay to let people in because not every relationship you have will be toxic and end in a bitter fashion.
There are groups of people that have spent their entire lives helping people in situations just like this. The doctors at Passavant Area Hospital are there for you if and when you feel like nobody else is, they can take you in and show you the ways to reset your view on life. Some examples include highlighting special breathing exercises, teaching yourself how to slow down and prevent an anxiety attack or how to pick yourself up from the depths of depression. Take what you may have learned and apply it to the real world. As many times as I’ve said I have given up hope, I can’t help but feel that there is more to life than being depressed and disgusted with what I see when I look in the mirror. Don’t let depression get out of hand. Please let somebody close to you … someone that you trust … share with that person the sensitive information that is your mental health. There are ways to help yourself; you do not have to be defined by your depression. Easier said than done, but talking out what is bothering you is what I have found to be the most helpful. There are times when the wall seems much too high to overcome, but you have to prevail. There are many people who, whether you choose to believe it or not, would be permanently damaged by any action you may take while in the grips of depression. Living through this will no doubt be a part of you, but the length in which you let it take you can be changed.
You have to have the courage to be truthful with yourself and let yourself know you have a problem. After that you have a wide array of options to help begin the rebuilding of a healthy mental state. Talk to your friends, your family … find a group like what Passavant does offer on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Down whatever path you choose to wander, please take into consideration that there are ample options and many people willing to spend as long as it takes to help improve your quality of life. Reach out the the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24 hours a day and have people who are standing ready to help you when you stumble and don’t know where else to turn. Please take action in the lives of those who you feel may be suffering from this awful disease. Treat it with the seriousness and respect that it requires to come through and believe that you can find your way out without the marks of battle scars showing.