Summing up Depression in a Nutshell:
Feelings of severe despondency (low spirits from loss of hope).
Having depression affects an individual’s everyday life, plus it can also impact on others around them as well. It is such a vital topic, not only in terms of general mental health but also to the depth and complexity that is Dyspraxia. To help boost understanding I felt a page like this would help.
My focus on this blog has always been to present as much information as I can muster on Dyspraxia, but at the same time present light-humour and positivity wherever I can. Now depression is a different kind of topic. It is immensely dark and daunting that, while there are sprinklings of light within, there’s no question, and it cannot be denied, that the light is overshadowed by darkness. Sometimes this darkness gets too overwhelming.
Depression: The Internal Fight
Depression is by no means a light-hearted topic. It is a very common mental disorder affecting somewhere between 300-350 million people across the globe. As a comparison, that’s about the same as the population of the USA.
One way I combat my depression is with a sarcastic tongue, dark humour, and a cynical approach to low moments. This kind of attitude does help me feel strong, smiling on the outside, and tackle the low point(s). (It could be considered fighting fire with fire.) No doubt it can come across as offensive, brash, and abrasive and as such I needed to make this important page with a clear mind.
Many people view their depression as a creature, setting, or personality of some kind – basically a metaphor or, as I call it, a ‘Tangibly Familiar’. Because of different personalities, struggles, and fights it makes sense that these ‘Tangibly Familiars’ can differ from person to person.
My Own Tangibly Familiar: The Pit of Peril
I see my own depression as a dark, oily pit that I occasionally slip or get pushed into. I see myself as a logical person, with a ton of emotion to boot, and as such I see this pit as a challenge and a situation that I must escape from. Becuase of this I do everything in my power to escape. The support from others around me really does help too, and I can pull myself free, even if it takes a while.
By acting positively, gaining small achievements and confidence, along with support from the people around me I can pull myself free. The longer I’m in this state – several weeks to several months – then the more I sink deeper into the ‘oily pit’ and it takes more effort and energy to fight on. Problems and issues that were once minor now just add to my mental health struggles. My once sarcastic tones begin to morph into actual seriousness. Luckily the darkness hasn’t overwhelmed me so far and I do keep fighting on. I have been accused in the past that logic doesn’t beat depression, but for me, my logical mind isn’t what beats the depressive spell anyway, but distracts me away from it long enough to stabilise myself emotionally.
Other People’s Tangibly Familiar
Some people see their depression as a dark tunnel and all they can do is ride it out until they emerge at the end – most times these tunnels twist and turn making it impossible to see the light that’s at the end. There are others who see their depression as a misty wooded, urban, or similar kind of setting, their depression is just a constant part of life and there is no real escape – so it’s a case making do and living with it.
Depression can materialise itself as anything. Many of us with depression imagine it as something physical, like a realm or creature, because it’s easier to handle when our ‘enemy’ is something tangible. Most fear comes from the unknown, so to make the unknown something familiar we can combat it easier. In short, depression has no real image, we just give it one ourselves.
Please feel free to share your own Tangible Familiar – It will be interesting to know what form yours take and how you combat it.
In the Harry Potter series, Dementors are the personification of J. K. Rowling’s own depression.
In a similar vein, Winston Churchill (England Prime Minister, most notably during World War II), had a battle with his own manic-depression. His view of it was that of a ‘Black Dog’. It is argued if he originally coined the term ‘Black Dog’ for depression, but he did popularise it nevertheless. From his point of view a dog can be trained, but occasionally it can rear its head and attack without reason or warning.
Some people probably don’t have a metaphor for their depression, but I find it does help by giving it an image of some kind.
Dyspraxia and Depression: Poetic Alliteration
Those with Dyspraxia are at risk of depression due to the difficulties with emotions and the self-esteem issues. We are easily isolated and/or victimised by others, which can create the critically low self-confidence, which can then lead to anxiety and then to depression.
I know it isn’t always an easy or quick task to beat depression, as I’ve been in that situation many times before – it is a slow and exhausting journey. Really the fight never ends and we have to keep going. Fortunately, my depression is mostly mild and easily manageable on most days and when it does rear its ugly head it doesn’t usually last too long (a day to a few days). Nonetheless, it does, on occasion, become more severe randomly and when bad things happen it does have a huge negative impact, as that is when I’m at my most vulnerable. For many others, their fight is far worst, and a bigger battle to stay afloat.
Types of depression
There is more than one type of depression, I have listed some of the main examples below with a brief description. (If you like more information on these types of depression then you’ll find a link at the end of this page):
Severity of depression
Depression affects everyone differently, and one major difference is the severity. People with depression can find themselves on a scale that is separated into 3 categories; Mild, Moderate, and Severe. Those with Bipolar/Manic depression are not locked to a certain area of the scale, rather they move up and down it. The scale is self-explanatory, but I have included a visual chart below just in case it is helpful in any way.
How depression can affect an individual
What’s it like to have depression? Those with depression don’t all have the same kind of fight as there are so many ways depression can affect an individual. I have compiled a list of what someone with depression could be afflicted with:
- Difficulty in concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Decreased energy and feeling fatigue
- Feelings of guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and/or pessimism
- Not sleeping well; e.g. insomnia, broken sleep, over-sleeping, etc.
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that was enjoyable. Even neglecting these hobbies altogether.
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Aches and pains, such as headaches, cramps, digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings
- Thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide
The list doesn’t cover everything as there are more symptoms and conditions, especially when you bring in the different types of depression and the severities. It is just a guide outlining what could be expected.
The way up and out of Depression’s grasp
As I mentioned earlier getting out of a depressive mindset is by no means an easy task. It certainly takes a lot of strength and energy. Using my depression as an example; imagine a pit, climbing out is going to be difficult and it requires constant hard-work. It doesn’t stop once you’re out, it’s a battle to stay out too.
Enough of my pit analogy, time for some useful tactics:
Keep Positive and Never Give Up!
It’s the biggest and important one. Don’t give up, keep going!!
Goals and Aims:
It’s easy to have a negative frame of mind with feelings of worthlessness. To help combat these feelings is to set realistic goals/aims, start off small and work upwards. With each accomplishment, it’ll begin to boost your positivity – positivity is depression’s greatest weakness.
With depression, it is so very easy to become distant and isolated from friends, family, and others. Being isolated for too long can make the depression worst and before you know it you’re stuck in a vicious cycle. If you’re feeling down or low remember to reach out to someone.
Don’t do nothing; do something!
Losing motivation and the will to do anything is an effortless task, but it sure doesn’t help! By doing something it’ll help to distract from the depression for a bit, give you more positivity and can help you manage the low attitude you’re having and process what’s going on more easily. Sometimes depression can manifest itself from negativity, or the negativity in one’s life becomes more apparent. So a good way to combat the darkness is to tackle these other problems – each negative problem is solved makes less burden, giving more time and energy to concentrate on the other things, it’ll distract away from the negativity for a bit whilst solving the troubles, and with success boosts morale.
It sure is easier said than done to get a good nights sleep, but it can help beat depression. Start off by getting into a consistent sleep routine, going to bed at the same time each night. It is also best not to use a computer/tablet or watch TV before going to bed. Many tablets come with a ‘night-mode’ which dulls the screen’s intensity, this helps just before you settle down to sleep. Reading a book or listening to music can help too. Some people find that white-noise/background noise while trying to sleep helpful, and with others not so much. Find out what works best for you.
Give your depression a metaphor, an identity, a Tangibly Familiar.
By giving depression an identity it makes it easier to deal with. An enemy you can see is much easier to handle than an invisible one. Once it’s identified you can start fighting back!
Consult a Doctor/GP
Depression can be a difficult situation to face, and the tactics on this list are only guides to help to overcome it. It is best to consult a GP over depression to get the right support, guidance, and medication (if needed).
How to support someone with their Depression
Supporting someone through/with depression is a challenging task itself. Being that someone is important to those with depression as most times they cannot do it alone or having that extra support does make it easier.
What to say
It’s difficult to say the right things to those with depression and so I’ve made a list of the sort of encouragement that is positive:
+ “I’m here for you”
+ “You’re a strong person, keep going!”
+ “Everything is going to be alright”
+ “Let’s meet up/Let’s go do something”
To sum up: Positive reinforcement goes a long way, and arranging to do something or meet up helps the person not feel isolated.
What NOT to say
This old chestnut! Countless times have I seen posts and lists on ‘what not to say to someone with depression’. It is very true, that there are wrong comments, and most times they come from the right heart. These wrong comments can make someone with depression feel worst, and so here’s my list:
– “Have you tried…”
– “It’s life. Life isn’t fair”
– “Turn to God for help”
– “You need a hobby”
To sum up: Tell someone who is depressed to go do something doesn’t help, as many people with depression find it difficult to get up and do something. Being told they should do something just causes bad feeling. Hard truths don’t offer any favours either. Bringing in God is another problem, if the person is religious they’re more than likely would have tried that already. If the person is a non-believer then this can cause complications.
The Positives of Depression
Earlier I promised that a ‘sprinkling of light’ existed when it comes to depression. What could possibly be good about depression!? There are a few things really, but I absolutely understand that this light side is not an equal balance compared to the dark side, regardless I think it’s still worth mentioning the following (side note: not everyone with depression is going to have these positives, or they may have them but overlook them due to the depression);
It shows that many people with depression are extremely creative, artistic, and/or funny. Also, when these people are in their low moments that’s when their creativity skyrockets. (Of course, there is a limit and if the low moment gets too much then creativity is extinguished along with any motivation and drive.) I find that I’m able to throw out more spontaneous puns when I’m feeling more on the low side. On the much bigger scale, some (maybe even most) of the greatest inventions, music pieces, art, books, etc. couldn’t exist without depression existing. Without depression, this world would be a totally different place.
Caring for others:
From my experience, those with depression tend to try their hardest to help others around them. The late Robin Williams summed it up perfectly:
Strength in you:
To fight depression and keep on surviving takes incredible strength and courage. That is something to be proud of. Keep going, keep fighting even when things seem hopeless – Numquam Defierce ~ Never Give Up!
Shows the strength and true colours of others:
Do you have a family member, friend, colleague, significant other, etc. who stands by you? When times get tough they are there for you and do what they can for you, even if it’s just to talk? Doesn’t have to be a chat about the depression or feelings, but just talk? Could well be just to meet up, sit down with you, or just be there for company, even without a single word spoken? How awesome are those people?! While depression isn’t there as a test, it does show who has your back and who really has your back. It separates the ones who genuinely care from the ones who do not.
Side Note: ‘Numquam Deficere’
There is a reason why ‘Numquam Deficere’ is my motto, and why I’ve imprinted it onto my blog. It is Latin for ‘Never give up’ and if I gave up even once this blog wouldn’t exist. To be bluntly honest, if I gave up then I wouldn’t even exist in this mortal world either. It is a difficult journey and to push forward has become my motivation – to aim to never give up helps gives me strength.
To choose to have it in Latin rather than just say ‘Never give up’ is that I love history; especially the medieval period. With this in mind, I thought that my very own Latin motto would help to be more inspiring. I suppose you could call it an incantation or magic spell of sorts!
Being pushed to the brink of giving up is a truly horrible experience. These screaming thoughts can get overwhelming at times, and in countless cases for some people far too overwhelming.
Suicide: The Darkest Abyss
Originally, I wasn’t going to include suicide on this page, it’s a very sensitive topic and is a more daunting topic than Depression. I’ve already brought up my own personal blight with suicide, having almost been pushed to that extreme before. There have been people in my life that have taken their own life. I feel that most of us on this planet have been exposed to suicide in one way or another. At the end of the day, it is a solid part of depression and so I decided to do my best to do a chapter on it.
Countless people have lost their lives by their own deliberate hand, which was guided by a force. What that force was varies from person to person, circumstance to circumstance.
There are already many websites, posts, videos, and interactive media dedicated to preventing suicide and raising awareness. There are many angles and messages they can take though.
Some opt for a ‘tough love’ or the cold hard realism approach with such quotes as:
“Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.”
“Suicide: It’s a life sentence for surviving friends and family.”,
Others go for a sympathetic approach with such quotes as:
“When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on so long”
“Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called PURPOSE. You’re alive for a reason. Don’t forget it.”
Then there is the logical approach with such quotes as:
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”
You could say that that people are controlled by two elements you could say; logic and emotion. Too much logic and you can come off as too robotic-like with no compassion. On the flip side, too much emotion can lead to taking irrational actions and can end up destroying you. By having an equal balance of the two you have a happy medium ~ The Status Quo. Suicide comes from acting on overwhelming emotion, even if that overwhelming emotion is just that immense empty feeling.
In the end, when it comes to individuals talking about suicide there is one thing they have in common. That is if you’re on the edge of suicide staring into the abyss then reach out to someone. Could be a close person or someone on the end of a hotline. I know that there are many, many people out there fighting a battle on a daily basis. Could be that you’re in that dark place yourself. I urge you to reach out to someone, get help, and talk it through.
The gift of life is the greatest gift of all and, despite the dark happenings that life can throw your way, you can make a big difference to this world. You can be the light in not only your own dark tunnel but others as well.
Suicide Hotlines: suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html
Samaritans (UK and ROI): samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us
Dyspraxia Foundation: dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/helpline/
The End: The Fight Continues
Thank you for taking the time to read through this page and I hope it has been somewhat useful. Whether that is a better insight into Depression and/or Dyspraxia & DCD. Please feel free to share with those who you feel will benefit from it.
I’ve dedicated this page to those battling depression. To those who are currently fighting and to those who lost their own fight. Also, to the people who stick by those with depression and do your best, you are awesome and amazing people, please don’t stop, but also remember to take care of yourself too! With this page and my site, I hope to spread just a little more awareness and strength to the world.
Different types of Depression: webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types#1-2
Dyspraxic Fantastic Pages