The Many Flavors of Depression
I woke up feeling off today and wondered why. Was I sad? Upset? Had I not slept well? Was I coming down with something? I didn’t know what it was. I was just feeling… off. Not right. I eventually decided that I was feeling depressed.
There are many different ways depression can affect someone. Many different flavors, if you like. Here are a few of those I’ve found in myself and some I’ve seen in others:
Sad Depression: This is the most obvious one. The one that people think of first when they hear the word depression. When you’re depressed you can feel sad. The funny thing, of course, is that you may not know why you’re feeling sad. The key to getting past sad depression is to spend a day caring for yourself. That could mean laying in bed petting your cat, or it could be going out to lunch with friends.
Angry Depression: You want to hit someone. You want to break all the dishes. You want to yell and scream and throw things. Yes, this is a form of depression. Don’t get near me when I’m feeling angry depressed. Honestly, don’t even say ‘hi’ because I will snap your head off. My go-to answer for angry depression is a good workout. Lifting weights, running on a treadmill, or best of all, the rowing machine is great for angry depression because the harder you pull the harder it is to pull.
Lazy/Tired Depression: You cannot get out of bed. No matter how hard you try your muscles are not going to move. If you make it out to the kitchen table, kudos to you! And good luck getting yourself up out of that chair again. It’s just not going to happen. This is a hard form of depression because you become a lump and there just isn’t anything you can do about it. Give in. Be a lump. Accept that you are lump. Hope that your cat (or dog) comes to you to be pet. It will make you feel better. Sometimes just sleeping it off will help. Sometimes a kick in the pants by a good friend or loved one is what you need.
Hungry Depression: You want to eat. You want it to be high in sugar or high in fat, or even better, both! Give me a doughnut and a plate of fries and I will eat it and be wanting more. Comfort food is a must. The key to getting through this is to stuff your face with salad. Eat vegetables (carrots are really good because they pack a crunch that’s very satisfying). Make a banana smoothie with yogurt. It will fill you up and it’s good for you.
Starving Depression: Yup, we’ve got both here, folks. The thought of food just churns your stomach. You couldn’t possibly put anything more than a sip of water into your mouth… maybe a cup of tea. The smell, the thought of eating, nope, it’s a no-go. The solution of course is to eat lightly but do eat. Eating is important no matter how much you don’t want to. Have some light soup or put some sugar into that tea. A hard-boiled egg and toast might just do the trick.
Active Depression: Yes, I’ve had this. I think psychiatrists would call this manic depression. I want to clean. I want to organize. I want to turn my home inside out, throw away half my belongings and clean it out all. This is a good sort of depression — until you decide that you really did want that sweater that you just gave away to the homeless shelter. Oh well. Sorry about that! At least you’ve got more space in your closet and drawers now.
Cutting/Personal Harm: This is one of the worst sorts of depression. You want to hurt yourself. You may cut or freeze (in the winter) or boil (in the summer). You don’t care and you don’t deserve whatever comfort you could possibly give yourself. I fear this depression almost as much as the last one I’m about to get to because people seriously harm themselves that’s not good. For this one, you really need to find help — either a good friend, a loved one or someone licensed.
Suicidal Depression: Whether is ideation or actually attempting this, you need help. Please, please, please speak with someone if you experience this. This is Not Good. When you feel this way you not only need to speak with a professional, you have to remember that you are loved. There are people (even if you don’t think there, really, truly, there ARE) people who will be hurt if anything were to happen to you. Sometimes it may be hard to remember this or to think of who those people might be, but they are there. Don’t hurt them. Don’t hurt yourself. Call or visit: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ If you are in the U.S. the number is 1–800–273–8255.
There are probably more ways of being depressed than what’s on this list. But no matter how you are feeling it, no matter what form it takes, being depressed sucks.
It’s difficult to deal with, especially if you’re alone. This past year has been difficult. It’s been really, really difficult for everyone. The good news is that because it’s been so hard there are more resources out there than ever before. You can find more people to speak to, more hotlines to call, and more friends who will understand what you are going through.
You do NOT need to do this alone. You are loved. You are cared for. There are people here to help. Don’t push them away no matter how tempted you are to do so. Please. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better because you deserve to be happy.