On Persistent Depressive Disorder
Updated: Sep 30
I have struggled. I have all these ideas that I want to get out then I wonder if its too personal, if someone reading it would take offense, etc. I have since learned that I've aged out of the point of caring. I care to a certain extent, but unless it affects my livelihood in the immediate moment, I don't care. Also, if I talk about a particular person, organization, or anything it is anonymous and people won't even know who I am talking about because I don't talk to everyone. Those last two sentences sound like backtracking to my overcritical self, but they are true. Everything is anonymous so if someone was to take offense, that is a personal issue and if it affects my livelihood based off of an anonymous blog, then there is something more to it that I was not aware of. In the past 6 months, I have learned more about myself than I have in 15 years of counseling. There are so many lessons I've learned: on friendships, working relationships, parenting, romantic relationships, re-parenting self. This is just what I can think of right now, but my journey in the last 6 months has been a dosey and I need to direct the energy somewhere constructive. I have also been told that reflection posts that I have put on social media have helped others so... with that, I figured why not write out my thoughts anonymously and publicly.
One of the major lessons, I learned is that not everyone knows how to interact or be friends with someone who has depression (to learn more about persistent mild depression, click here). There is still a stigma that depression makes you weak.
During a conversation, I told someone how depressed I had been during the past 6 months, and all I could think about was how they saw me as weak because that's how it came across in the conversation. All I could think about was how those who endure physical pain don't understand the mental pain some of us endure or about those who have physical pain and how it affects their mental state. During this conversation, I had a fawn response (which I learned more about from Dr. Nicole LePera, click here for IG post). The things that stood out to me in this IG post that I was doing in this particular conversation were:
hyper aware of other people's emotions + needs while betraying your own: I betrayed my own feelings during this conversation I kept trying to get the other person to understand my side in the sense of I was not intentional being antisocial and I wasn't being a bad friend. I was struggling to function thus leading me to isolation. My desire to be understood was short-lived because I ended up giving up after a while and just chalked it up to being antisocial and a bad friend. Side Note: The labels of being antisocial and a bad friend I learned only apply in certain instances. I have learned that I am not for everyone and to some I have been a bad friend and antisocial. Not only do I have a desire to be around, but need to be around people who feel good to my spirit.
avoids any situation that could lead to conflict: during this conversation, I had to clear up some miscommunication that I had on my part, but if it would have led to conflict, I would have shut down even more than I had already.
going along with another's person's perspective, beliefs, or values without connecting with your own: during this conversation, a lot of encouragement and advice was given, however, that isn't what I needed, I needed to be understood. After the conversation, I realized that this person and I had different values when it came to friendship.
This picture represents how I felt for majority of my life. I have been functionally depressed for over 20 years (and to clarify in my particular situation, I have not had suicide ideation. Some people who struggle through depression have suicide ideation and some do not. I just happen to not). Some people know that about my depression and some don't. I have accomplished a lot living through depression. I'm grateful; however, I struggle with the fact that this is something on-going (to learn why people relapse back into depression, check out this The Depression Project post).