For a Friend

Lovely red rose and pen on a classic note book

Lovely red rose and pen on a classic note book

When you suffer from severe clinical depression, self-care such as this is an extremely necessary survival skill. It took me so many years to let go of all the guilt I felt when I couldn’t attend every party/function or be whatever everyone else in my life needed me to be. When I had to reschedule plans or take the day off? I would completely beat myself up over it, which obviously only made me feel worse. Eventually I was able to realize how silly it is to feel guilty for having an illness.  I am not weak, lazy or crazy. I certainly didn’t ask to have a chemical imbalance and if there was a way to will it away? Well let’s just say I’m pretty strong-willed to say the least lol.  

We don’t look down on those who suffer from diabetes, cancer, or any other illness that is usually physically noticeable.  So why the hell do so many still look down on mental illness as a character flaw or weakness?  Honestly it really pisses me off. In my opinion? It’s no better than kicking kittens.  

Think about it. When I had cancer, I was just a kid (12 yrs old). Even having cancer and being a kid, I was able to advocate for myself to a large extent. When I had pain, I let them know. When the chemo made me nauseous, I let them known. But when you have depression or other mental illnesses? It’s a whole different ballgame where the decks are stacked against you before you even step on the field.

When I am in a depression, the very nature of my illness makes me feel less than and worthless. Your brain actually tricks you into believing that you don’t deserve to live and that the people you love would be better of without you.  During those moments, the pain is so intense you think it will just swallow you up whole. So how the hell are you supposed to advocate for yourself when you feel like you don’t deserve any better? Like you have in some way caused this pain and nothing will ever get any better.

Thankfully for me, those days are very far and few in between these days.  I’d be lying if I said they don’t still happen.  But now I have an arsenal of tips and tricks that help me and I am able to even tell myself that this feeling is temporary and I will feel better. I know what to expect and I am ready for it.  And the rest of the time? I laugh a lot and I enjoy my life!  I think that makes me pretty darn lucky.

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36 thoughts on “For a Friend

  1. bipolarsojourner says:

    two things about self care.

    1. it’s the lack of self care which aids or can even create drive to depression.

    2. depression trixes me. i completely understand the importance of self care when in a depressive cycle. the thing is depression robs my self worth, thereby convincing me that i really deserve self care. it’s a horrible conundrum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmagc75 says:

      I haven’t had more than a week or so of depression since my Mom died but when I did, yes I often needed help with self-care. My parents, my H, my brother and a few others reminded me over n over it’s not my fault and I don’t deserve this. But with every cycle I had to change my meds cause obviously they weren’t working. Except when my Mom died because that wasn’t about the illness, just plain old grief and loss. How are you doing?

      Like

  2. Whoresnotwelcome says:

    These words just say it all. I have suffered from depression all of my adult life. I can remember struggling into work until one morning, while driving, the tears started to flow and I couldn’t stop them. I parked in the car park and a lady that I didn’t know opened my door and just held my hand. After a while she asked for my phone and contacted my husband. He came to get me and for three months I could barely function. All I felt was guilt and shame. You are so right Emma attitudes to mental illness are still in the dark ages. Your post brought me to tears x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mychildwithin says:

    Sounds like you are doing really well and your coping tips are working! Really pleased for you. It’s great that you have learned to live with this sneaky illness, despite the ‘lows’ which can really consume you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmagc75 says:

      Thanks so much. I am great most days so yes I’m very lucky. I’m actually usually a happy-go-lucky person lol. Being positive when you’re well definitely helps keep you well. But when I’m low it’s impossible to “think positive”. So I accept that and lean into the curve. I find my complete acceptance that I have no control over the illness somehow helps me feel better sooner. How are u doing?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mychildwithin says:

        Acceptance really helps with mental illness as fighting against it can make the monster bigger! I am doing ok..Thanks for asking!Since my anti-depressants really started kicking in, they have helped me cope with the lows a lot better. I don’t think I would have survived this awful year without going back on them..Been having therapy too since January, and finally starting EDMR for all my traumas..

        Liked by 1 person

        • emmagc75 says:

          Yes without my meds, I would be a human vegetable. Why did you go off them? And acceptance of my illness n need for meds took me years. I used to get down just opening all the bottles everyday. So on advice from my Dr, I got a weekly pill box n put them in with my vitamins n allergy meds. Sounds silly but it made a difference after a while. I’m glad you’re getting better. How is the EDMR? I find the concept fascinating n groundbreaking for all those that have experienced trauma.

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          • mychildwithin says:

            It took me awhile to accept the meds completely too..Been on and off them a few times..Always hoping that I would manage without them..Then something would knock me over the edge again (mostly narc related) and I would have to take them again..Now I will stay on them for awhile…I function so much better..I did some trial EMDR sessions to help me cope with my fear of flying but next week I will be starting the really ‘tough’ trauma work..I am a little scared as it won’t be very pleasant..You have to go through the trauma first (most likely feel all the crap that goes with it) and then afterwards replace it with more positive feelings..I will document my sessions..I hope it works.

            Liked by 1 person

            • emmagc75 says:

              I will never be able to go off them and that’s okay. I have treatment resistant depression so the meds would work for up to a year then stop. Took me 7 years to find the right combo and I am extremely lucky to have been on same meds for 15 years.
              Yes it will be unpleasant and difficult but I have heard really positive feedback from an acquaintance who had childhood traumas. It did work and changed her life. Try to be calm, it’s just feelings and the crappy feelings are temporary. Good luck n big hugs for being brave xo!

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              • mychildwithin says:

                Thank you for your encouragement..Got to indeed remember they are just feelings..and i’m sorry to hear you had to go through so many years of getting your meds right! It must have been a nightmare with your poor brain (and body!) trying to adjust .So many horrid side-effects too..hugs back x

                Liked by 1 person

                • emmagc75 says:

                  Thanks! It did suck but eventually I did research n found that a small amount of adderall, the ADD drug, keeps the meds working n helps with the extreme fatigue I have as the major side effect of meds. Went to a psychopharmacologist n within 6 months I had my life back. A different life but a good life nonetheless lol 🙂

                  Like

  4. idioglossiablog says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I refer to this as a “Soul Coma.” When a person is feeling so disconnected from life almost to the point of breaking. Nothing could be worse than having someone dismiss this illness, or treat the person who is suffering as though they have some sort of a choice to not be ill. 😦 Sadly most people are unaware of the devastating effect this can have on those who suffer from mental illnesses of any kind. G-uno

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmagc75 says:

      Thanks g-uno! When I get this bad, I don’t feel like I’m breaking. I feel already broken n there is a black hole of pain inside me that just hurts so much. I do know others that disconnect. I think my husband has but he’s getting better. Luckily now I will feel that way for a few hours once a month whereas years ago it was every single day. And yeah definitely not a choice. Hope ur well. Hugs xo!

      Liked by 1 person

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