A friend was asking for experiences with depression, to see how theirs was comparing. I opted in, then figured if it could help anyone feel like they weren’t alone or were understood, I may as well post it here.
I don’t expect that you’re looking for easy or quick answers, which is great because I definitely don’t have any. Depression has been a common force in my life since my early teenage years, and I know that last year has held some of the lowest feelings I’ve experienced. I’ve lifted out of it to some extent, but I still often wish I could just blink out of existence and stop taking up space/resources.
I think isolation can be very helpful to a certain extent. I often pull away when I’m in deep bouts. I know intimately what you’re talking about when you say that you find it hard to reach out, despite being the first to offer help or assurance for others. I know that while I encourage everyone to ask for help, there’s a quiet but persistent voice that tells me that if I have to ask for help in something, I don’t deserve to have it. I’m sure we both know this is bullshit, but I feel like it’s probably a fairly common pattern for a lot of high functioning people.
I know that when I do isolate myself, I often get caught in obsessive and unhelpful thought spirals. I’ll dig right into the negative shit that makes me feel like scum and implore it to do its worst, because on some level I think I deserve to stay in that mindset. It’s stupid and isn’t doing anything for me. At times maybe I think it’s easier to stay resentful about myself than actually do things, and there’s a comfort in that.
I was very fortunate to have been given access to OHIP sponsored therapy. I got access through my GP. I think the waitlist was about ten months and I would encourage anyone and everyone here to see if this is an option. Honestly, I’m not even sure my OHIP therapist is particularly good for my contemplative style, but there’s something very empowering about venting to someone without having to be considerate of their feelings. I run into trouble trying to simultaneously emotionally take care of people who are trying to take care of me, and to some extent it hinders the process.
An outcome that has been very successful from therapy has been getting better at challenging the thoughts that I’m having. Calling bullshit on some of the catastrophising or projecting that I’m doing mentally. I get into trouble doing the “if this, then that” equation that leads me down paths that aren’t constructive. Often it comes from expectations that I have of how people will react, or outcomes that realistically will probably not happen. I really don’t know what the future holds, and causality is way too complex for me to really be able to predict the series of events that would lead there. People are often more resilient or emotionally capable than I give them credit for, which I don’t factor into my fears nearly enough. A lot of the time I’ll expect that I’m asking too much, then I’ll talk to the person and they’ll be like “yeah, that’s fine. NBD.”
I’m not “better” and I don’t truly think that’s a likely outcome, but being able to call bullshit on myself has been a big step.