I suffer from depressive episodes. Not major episodes which last for weeks, which circle my head with the feeling of nausea-inducing emptiness or swarming guilt caused from being lethargic during the day. Just a few hours at a time.
The phrase “you do not have it as bad as some people” annoys me. If your depressive episode lasts for one hour or ten, twenty minutes or twenty hours, it does not make yours any less severe, or important than anybody else’s.
I usually literally feed my depressive episodes. With my negative body image, the intake of food (which coincidently fits in with my illness) doubles. This obviously increases the intensity of how I feel. Today, I ate half a dark chocolate Lindt bunny which my mom bought me for Easter. This tied with my current state, bled the feeling of betrayal into my brain. The three emotions of disappointment are as follows:
- I’ve been really trying to eat healthily and I’ve just gone back on my weight loss by eating half a huge chocolate rabbit.
- Knowing I don’t really need the food intake, I’m just attempting (and undeniably failing) to make myself feel better.
- I wanted to keep the rabbit until long after Easter. I ultimately am ashamed that I have had to open it and could not control my cravings.
But, it is just a chocolate bunny? Why am I so upset about eating a chocolate rabbit? I can just go buy another one. I know this. But I am psychologically projecting my hurt, dismay and sadness onto the idea that I am upset with myself because I have eaten some chocolate.
I cannot describe to you what having a depressive episode would be like for you, because there is not a mirror image of what mine is. Sometimes I am capable of coping. Other times I am not. Sometimes I can wallow in self-pity for hours. Other times I can snap out of it in a minute. There is no describing to somebody who has not had a depressive episode/suffered from depression themselves, what you are feeling. You cannot empathise with something you have never experienced, no matter how much you would love to try.
I personally understand the rough pattern that my mind takes. I have an event which causes intense heartache and overwhelming stress. My coping mechanisms are to eat and to cry. Eventually after the first blow, I will cry so much that I no longer know what I am crying about. After this, I ponder. After thinking, I am fine. I’m still down, grumpy and moody, but I no longer feel ‘sad’. I then eat. I fill the pit of my stomach with food that I don’t really want. After I eat, his is where the emptiness kicks in. During the emptiness, I need somebody or something (like work) to take it away through distraction. After the distraction, I am completely fine, and it numbingly feels like it never happened. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
This is just me. This is my skeleton of what happens during a depressive episode. Maybe yours follows the routine but meanders off into a different direction. Maybe it does not fit my mould. Does that make it any less worthy? No.
Sometimes it is really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there always is one. There is always one creeping at the back. And when the sunshine hits and the depressive episode ebbs away, life is brilliant and my outlook regains positivity. The problem is, the time between the darkness and the light switches every time.
There is no wrong way to deal and there is no right way to deal, I just try to always maintain strength.