Many of us are aware of what happened to Robin Williams. Depression is not an illness that is easy to see in another or even to identify within one's self. I know. I've had my share of downs.
I'm writing this because I recently suffered the worst depression in years. It used to plague me when I did daycare, but I've been good for a long time since getting out. Maybe that was why it hit so bad again--I did some summer childcare this past summer. Something about that stress brings it on; there is just too much stress. The downward spiral was already in motion when they were done, however. And then news stories and a slow down in ebook sales sent everything into a nosedive.
Depression is a soul-sucking monster that whispers lies and conspiracies about even the most innocent of ideas. I started questioning everything about myself. I felt worthless and scared. BUT I've been through this before. I was able to give myself moments of clarity, brief as they were, by reminding myself why it was happening. It was a struggle and I kept in mind the statement by Wil Wheaton: "Depression lies". It lies to you about your accomplishments, belittling everything and questioning your right to even modest achievements. It lies about other people, close friends and loyal family, turning them into backstabbers or making you feel that you did something wrong for which they are mad (especially those who never seem to take anything the wrong way) and telling you that you're not worth their attention. It steals your interest in your passions and makes you feel like there's no light left in the world.
I've suffered bouts of depression before, so I was aware of it happening when it attacked this time. That didn't make it any easier to deal with, especially since this was the worst it's ever hit. It had me in tears many times, hiding and lonely yet short-fused with my family. It was more vicious this time than ever, knocking me out to where some days I came home from a new job that helped distract me for a short time only to crash on the bed and be unable to get up the rest of the afternoon and evening. The job has been my saving grace by making me feel valuable again, a flicker of light in the darkness.
I've been able to stay off medication for some time. I don't like staying on meds for any reason. But after almost three weeks of some days feeling normal but mostly feeling awful about myself and my life, I decided to get into my doctor, or nurse practitioner in this case. I have a new prescription now, but I'm also waiting on blood work. Depression can be a side effect of something else going on in the body, and I'm not young any more. Parts will start to fail. I understand that. But that doesn't mean I can't do something about it. I would rather treat the problem than the symptoms. For now, however, I will do what I must to go on.
No one knew I was suffering. It's a silent illness and we learn to mask it to the outside world. Don't take that smile at face value. Behind it may be tears.
I've written about this before, and I do so to open the eyes of people. Until you've been through this, you don't know what true depression is. But for those who suffer, knowing that you're not alone and being able to recognize the lies of this beast are two vital keys to winning the battle. Seeking help from a medical professional is the third.